With a Neighbourhood Development Order communities can grant planning permission for development they want to see go ahead in a neighbourhood. For example, allowing certain developments, such as extensions to houses, to be built without the need to apply for planning permission.
Neighbourhood development orders (NDOs) will grant planning permission for a particular type of development in a particular area. This could be either a particular development, or a particular class of development (for example retail or housing).
A number of types of development will be excluded from NDOs, however. These are:
- minerals and waste development
- types of development that, regardless of scale, always need Environmental Impact Assessment
- Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects.
The Localism Act also includes powers to allow regulations to exclude certain types of development from Neighbourhood Development Orders, or certain areas from Neighbourhood Development Order projects.
It could be useful for NDOs to be linked to the Neighbourhood Development Plan for the area. For example, the plan could identify the need for a new village shop and a broad location. The NDO could then apply a planning permission to a particular site or existing building where the shop will be built.
How do NDOs grant permission for development?
NDOs can grant planning permission, therefore getting rid of the need for a standard planning application to the local planning authority. However the NDO will have to meet some minimum standards, and be approved by the community, before it can come into force. First, the NDO must be passed to the local district or unitary authority, which will check that it has been properly consulted on, and that the development does not need an Environmental Impact Assessment. Then the NDO will be assessed by an independent examiner, who will check that it conforms to national and local planning policies.
The independent examiner will also check that the NDO would not damage local heritage assets. If the independent examiner approves the Order, then a local referendum on whether the NDO should be adopted will be held. If a majority vote in favour of the NDO in the referendum, then it will come into force.