Neighbourhood Plans were introduced by the government under the Localism Act 2011. This act allows parish and town councils in rural areas and Neighbourhood Forums in cities in England to create their own Neighbourhood Plan that contains planning policies that must be taken into account by the Planning Authority when making decisions about planning applications.
Since 2011, hundreds of parish and town councils and neighbouthood forums have begun the process of creating their own plans. A map on the Neighbourhood Planner website shows the locations of these.
Neighbourhood Plans are intended to contain planning policies that are specific to a Neighbourhood Area. This area is either the existing area covered by the parish or town council or must be approved by the local authority. The processes of setting up a neighbourhood forum and establishing the area are closely linked.
A Neighbourhood Plan should complement the Local Plan for the planning authority by fine-tuning it to meet the needs of the specific neighbourhood. Leicester City Council is currently beginning the process of producing the new Local Plan for Leicester, which is expected to be adopted in 2016.
There are no Neighbourhood Plans in the City of Leicester yet, but a number exist in Leicestershire. Examples include:
A good example of a Neighbourhood Plan in an urban area is the one for the St James neighbourhood in Exeter.