It may have been a number of years since your neighbourhood plan was brought into force by the local planning authority (LPA). By monitoring the made neighbourhood plan you may have determined it needs to be updated. Perhaps because there is a new emerging local plan, or you’ve noticed that some of your policies are not being used in the way you intended.
Whatever the reason, you need to know what statutory stages (e.g. examination, referendum) you need to take your plan through. Below we go through different levels of plan modification and which, if any, of the statutory stages you may need to repeat. These scenarios are taken and mildly adapted from the government’s Planning practice guidance (PPG)
Depending on the degree of modification, you may need to bring your modified plan back to the pre-submission stage. This will depend on whether changes are minor or material.
Minor changes can be dealt with by the LPA without proceeding through the statutory stages again. Material changes will require a new examination. If this is the case, Regulation 14 (pre-submission) consultation will also be required and you will then need to formally submit your plan to the LPA. To understand what counts as a minor or material change, read the scenarios below.
Minor (non-material) modifications would not require examination or referendum. Minor modifications are those which would not materially affect the policies in the plan or, if for an NDO, the planning permission granted by the order. These may include correcting errors, such as a reference to a supporting document.
Material modifications which do not change the nature of the plan or NDO would require examination but not a referendum.
This might, for example, entail the addition of a design code that builds on a pre-existing design policy, or the addition of a site or sites which, subject to the decision of the independent examiner, are not so significant or substantial as to change the nature of the plan. It will be up to the examiner to decide whether the changes require a fresh referendum.
For more information on implementation, monitoring and reviewing a made neighbourhood plan read Implementation and Monitoring Toolkit
The above article is taken from the Locality Neighbourhood Planning newsletter, issue 7 October 2019.