Plan making - Neighbourhood plans - Advice on evidence

Archived April 2016. This page will no longer be updated.


The Localism Act states that all local planning authorities (LPAs) have a duty to support and advise neighbourhood groups which are seeking to take forward a neighbourhood plan. This resource focuses on the support that LPAs might give to community groups on the collection of evidence to support their planning policies. Prepared by Chris Bowden at Navigus Planning on behalf of PAS.

It assists LPAs to give effective and efficient support to neighbourhood groups on the evidence needed to underpin policies in their plans. LPAs can use the topic template provided to create an 'off the shelf' resource on local evidence for neighbourhood planning, which we hope will provide benefits to both LPAs and neighbourhood groups.

Advice on evidence

A neighbourhood plan must comply with the basic conditions in the Localism Act and the 2012 Neighbourhood Planning Regulations. While the evidence requirements are not as rigorous as those for an LPA in its plan making, the need for evidence to underpin a neighbourhood plan is important. Neighbourhood groups should use evidence that is already in the public domain, along with evidence that they collect themselves, to prepare their pllans. It is the process of determining what is needed and how to collect it where many neighbourhood groups are likely to need support and guidance.

Taking a consistent approach

Ideally the evidence collected at the neighbourhood level should benefit the neighbourhood group and the LPA. By taking a structured and consistent approach to evidence gathering at the community level, it can build up a framework of data that can:

  • inform strategic policy in a way that district-wide evidence cannot
  • enable like-for-like data to be compared and also ensure consistency of interpretation and terminology used
  • help interpret strategic policy, particularly in development management for a specific proposal.

Providing advice

This document provides a template, to be completed by the LPA, to help advise groups on what evidence is needed on a topic by topic basis. It will cover what information is available and what is needed to support the range of issues to be tackled in their neighbourhood plans.

Using the template, the LPA can then develop a series of issues-based evidence sheets, covering the most common issues being identified in the emerging neighbourhood plans in their area. These evidence sheets can be made available to all neighbourhood groups that want to address those particular issues:

Neighbourhood planning: evidence templates

Collectively, these various topic sheets will provide an evidence-based resource for neighbourhood planning. The examples provided will help start the development of this resource, and LPAs can use this format to develop more if required by their communities.