Introduction to neighbourhood and community-led plans

Community-led planning is about communities seizing the opportunity to try to shape their own futures. It covers approaches such as parish plans, community design statements and now neighbourhood plans.

Neighbourhood planning

Neighbourhood planning provides an opportunity for communities to decide the future of the places where they live and work. They will be able to:

  • influence where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built
  • have a say on what those new buildings should look like - please see the section below on design
  • grant planning permission for the new buildings they want to see go ahead.

The right to prepare a neighbourhood plan was introduced through the Localism Act in 2011. 

Neighbourhood plans in Cotswold

Two neighbourhood plans in Lechlade and Tetbury are in full legal effect, and numerous other parishes are preparing plans. Please see:

It is important to stress that although neighbourhood plans can promote additional development to what might be proposed through the Local Plan, they cannot undercut what the Local Plan proposes. Neighbourhood plans take time and financial commitment to develop so your parishes need to be prepared for a lot of work. However, they should prove a good way for local people to identify specific areas for development on their 'patch'.

There is no requirement for any parish to prepare a neighbourhood plan. The district's Local Plan provides the overall framework for development in the district. Neighbourhood plans sit alongside this, addressing particular local concerns.

For further information, or to log a community's interest in developing a plan, please contact us.

Parish and community-led plans

Community-led plans, also known as Parish or Town plans, set out a community's vision for the next five or ten years. They contain an action plan to move forward solutions to issues raised within the community, formed during local conversations and consultations. They are not planning policy documents, but the work to prepare a community plan often identifies issues which a community may wish to tackle through the planning tools available, such as a neighbourhood plan or community design statement.

For independent assistance to communities looking to develop such plans, see:

Community Planning and design

The issue of design is often central to communities' concerns over planning.  Neighbourhood Plans can have a strong role to play in dealing with concerns over design, where these might be addressed through formal policy making.  Community design statements, often known as village design statements, are also a way for a community to develop its own guidance for what forms locally appropriate design. These can be an appendix to a neighbourhood plan, or stand alone, as a clear statement of what the local community expects to see from new development. For further information, see the guide below, or view a local example of a design statement prepared by Down Ampney:

Local Green Space designation

Local Green Space designation provides a strong presumption against development for areas of land recognised as 'demonstrably special' to the local community. In law, Local Green Spaces can be designated either in the district-wide Local Plan or in a Neighbourhood Plan. The Local Plan preparation has reached a stage where additional designations cannot be proposed, so to secure this status is through a neighbourhood plan. The toolkit we developed to help communities secure Local Green Spaces through the Local Plan should help communities looking to designate Local Green Space within a Neighbourhood Plan.

Advice for communities

You will need to do some initial work to identify local concerns and aspirations before you can identify the right approach for your community. Working with the Gloucestershire Rural Community Council, we've prepared a toolkit for our residents to identify and research the planning issues affecting their community. Please: 


To help you decide whether Neighbourhood Planning is the right route for you and your community, see the:

Cotswold District Council
Trinity Road