NP: where and why
In 2010 the UK government took the decision to introduce a citizen-led level of land use planning in England. This was placed on a statutory footing for the first time through the Localism Act passed in 2011 – which formalised Neighbourhood Planning (NP). The advent of NP has added to an existing direction of travel in seeking the knowledge, understanding, skills and time of people rooted in communities, with a view to them actively shaping the future of their area.
Government argued that: ‘in recent years, planning has tended to exclude, rather than to include, people and communities. In part, this has been a result of targets being imposed, and decisions taken, by bodies remote from them… and introducing neighbourhood planning addresses this’ (DCLG, 2012: pi).
However NP is not straightforward and despite the challenges associated to successfully producing a Plan many communities have taken up that challenge and a lot of material, experience and commentary has been generated. We wanted to highlight and signpost such work here to inform and support all stakeholders for what is essentially a co-produced form of planning. This means that a range of inputs and resources will need to be assembled to plan well. It is also useful for participants to understand the difficulties and where help and learning is located to help answer questions about what the main issues are likely to be. These may also be understood by thinking carefully about the stages and the actors involved in NP see: what is NP?
Given the authors of this site have a wide experience in planning and participation we also highlight alternatives to NP and when citizen-planners may need to assess the costs and benefits of different options.