What is a Neighbourhood Plan

Under the Localism Act the Government is encouraging local initiatives to develop Neighbourhood Forums and local development plans. Local councils are obliged to support and to listen to recommendations of Neighbourhood Forums.

The local development plan, the Neighbourhood Plan is developed by a forum of local residents and stakeholders over a period that can be as long as five years, based on consultation with the whole neighbourhood.

It was agreed at the Residents’ Association AGM on 5 October 2014 to set up a sub-group of the WFRA to explore the steps needed to set up a Neighbourhood Forum and to develop a Neighbourhood Plan, reflecting what residents would like more of (and less of) in the area.

As part of this process the WFRA is committed to consulting as widely as possible to represent the views of the neighbourhood. In February 2015, all residents in the neighbourhood were encouraged to contribute to two short surveys. There was a good response to the surveys which showed general support for the idea of a Neighbourhood Plan. Read the 2015 Survey Results.

Subsequently, a number of residents volunteered to be members of the Neighbourhood Forum and a formal application to create a Neighbourhood Plan (NP) for our area of West Finchley was submitted to the Council in November 2015. Following a public consultation, the application was accepted by the Council. Read our application here. And the approval from Barnet Council here.

The West Finchley Neighbourhood Plan will be based on Barnet Borough’s "Three Strands Approach" and incorporate Barnet’s other planning guidelines as well as the relevant guidance of the London Plan to the protection, enhancement and consolidated growth of the West Finchley neighbourhood. The Neighbourhood Plan will seek to ensure that development preserves the local character and be sympathetic to the appearance, scale, mass, height and pattern of the surrounding area, whilst improving the amenity of the community.

Since then the NP Executive Committee (Salim Sabri (Chair), Janet Baker, Alan Douglas, Kieran Kettleton, Suzanne King, Greg Thornett) have been working hard to draft sections of the NP, consulting with the Neighbourhood Forum and engaging Forum members in looking at six main areas:

  • Planning
  • Business
  • Amenities
  • Transport
  • People Services
  • Security/Crime

On 22 May 2017 at the Neighbourhood Forum AGM, the Executive Committee announced the good news that Nexus Planning, with the help of a government (DCLG) grant, will be providing expert advice to create a Neighbourhood Plan that will be accepted by Barnet Borough and the Planning Inspectorate. Read the AGM Minutes for more information.

There is a formal Forum Constitution which details the way the Forum operates on behalf of residents.

Nexus Planning assisted the Forum in consulting on and establishing the Vision and Objectives for the Neighbourhood Plan. Following the consultation process the views of residents were encapsulated in this presentation.

and subsequently in producing a Baseline Report (the formal description of the neighbourhood) and commissioning the Heritage and Character Assessment (the formal planning description of the character of the neighbourhood) which will is the basis of the Plan.