Neighbourhood planning

Neighbourhood planning was introduced by the Localism Act to provide an additional way for communities to engage in the planning process and help shape development in their area. It is a community-led process, distinct from preparation of the Local Plan which residents can engage with in other ways. 

​This page provides information on what to do if your neighbourhood would like to set up a neighbourhood forum and what is needed to submit a neighbourhood plan application.  

Preparing your neighbourhood plan 

Before you can submit a neighbourhood plan you must set up a neighbourhood area and forum. 

A neighbourhood forum must have at least 21 members. Forum members must either live, work, or be an elected local councillor for the area, with membership comprising at least one person from each of these sub groups. 

The forum should reflect an area’s demographic profile in terms of age, ethnicity, disability, and gender, and be derived from a spread of addresses across the area (not excessively clustered). 

If you are thinking of establishing a neighbourhood forum or plan in your area please get in touch with us at [email protected] 

An application to the Council to set up a neighbourhood forum should be accompanied by: 

  • A map of the proposed boundaries 
  • Details of the membership composition 
  • The forum’s constitution which should specify:  
    • The name of the neighbourhood forum and area of benefit 
    • The purpose of the forum, which must include the wording “to promote or improve the social, economic and environmental well-being of the Neighbourhood Area” taken from the Localism Act 
    • Working arrangements, including sub-groups, partners and their roles 
    • The pattern of meetings and details of how decisions are made 
    • Information on how to become a member, how new members are added and ongoing composition will be reviewed 
    • Governance structures including official positions such as Chair, Secretary, Treasurer 
    • Arrangements for management and financial management 
    • Expected duration of the forum 
    • Procedures for altering or amending the constitution 
    • How the forum will be dissolved if necessary and what would happen to any funds raised up to that point.  

Once all the necessary information is received, the Council will publicise the application for a period of 6 weeks. Following the 6-week invitation for comments - for applications that affect Newham only (i.e. do not cross borough boundaries) we will have 13 weeks in which to issue a decision (approve, modify or refuse the application). 

Once a neighbourhood area and forum has been established a neighbourhood plan can be produced. 

It is the neighbourhood forum’s role to produce a proposed neighbourhood plan which is in-keeping with Newham’s adopted Local Plan while addressing the development needs of their area.  

Once ready, we will publicise the proposed neighbourhood plan and submit it for an independent examination on behalf of the forum. After it has been examined, we will publish the examiner’s report and organise a referendum on the draft plan.