Who prepares a neighbourhood plan?
A neighbourhood plan is prepared for a community by an organisation (also known as the 'neighbourhood body'), which in most cases within the Borough will be the parish council. However, in un-parished parts of the Borough, other organisations such as a neighbourhood forum or another community organisation may be formed, and would need to apply to the Council to take the lead.
It is good practice for the parish council to set up a working group to lead on the preparation of the plan and this can comprise members of the community that are not on the parish council. The relationship between the parish council and the working group should be clear and transparent and this can be formalised with terms of reference. It is ultimately for the parish council, as the neighbourhood body, to make key decisions such as when to formally consult or submit the neighbourhood plan.
Neighbourhood bodies may consider working with consultants to help them prepare their plans. Before seeking such support, neighbourhood plan bodies should have ideas on both the planning issues that they would like to address and the requirement they may have for consultants undertaking work on their behalf. In deciding which consultants to work with, parish councils may also wish to consider their knowledge and experience by looking at other plans that consultants have worked on and records of professional accreditation (such as membership to the Royal Town Planning Institute). In securing a consultant, an agreement should set out the clear expectations of the work and the timeframe over which the work will be delivered (subject to reviews as appropriate).