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Neighbourhood planning allows communities (residents, employees, businesses) to come together through a 'Neighbourhood Forum' and shape development in their area by producing a neighbourhood plan.


The Localism Act 2011 introduced a set of tools for local people to get the right types of development for their neighbourhood, where a shared community vision for the area aligns with the strategic needs and priorities of the wider area as set out in national and local strategic policies.

Neighbourhood planning allows communities (residents, employees, businesses) to come together through a 'Neighbourhood Forum' and produce a neighbourhood development plan. This document sets out a vision for the future of an area and includes planning policy to guide developments. Find out more by visiting the Government’s Planning practice guidance on Neighbourhood Planning.

Planning in Richmond borough

A neighbourhood plan sits alongside the Council’s Local Plan for the area, which provides policies and guidance at both a borough-wide and a neighbourhood scale. Richmond’s Local Plan (pdf, 19 MB), which updates the Core Strategy and the Development Management Plan, was adopted by the Council on 3 July 2018. The Twickenham Area Action Plan, adopted on 2 July 2013, provides additional policies covering Twickenham town centre, and should be read in conjunction with the Local Plan.

We have also produced extensive supplementary planning documents, including Village Planning Guidance for each of the 14 village areas within the borough, with the exception of Ham and Petersham which has produced a neighbourhood plan. These are based on feedback received from the community after extensive consultation, and identify the key features and characteristics of the area, including those aspects most valued by communities. There are also conservation area studies covering many parts of the borough. 

In view of this, we encourage community groups to carefully consider what else a neighbourhood development plan could beneficially achieve for their area before starting a formal neighbourhood planning process.

Neighbourhood Planning Protocol

We published an updated Neighbourhood Planning Protocol (pdf, 5.0 MB) in July 2019, which outlines our role in neighbourhood planning. It provides a general overview of and advice on the neighbourhood planning process and ensures there is a coordinated approach, including clarity and transparency for local communities.

Requirements for neighbourhood plans

A neighbourhood development plan or neighbourhood development order must be in general conformity with the strategic policies contained in the development plan for the area of the local authority.

Neighbourhood plans will not be able to prevent development in a neighbourhood – they can only include proposals for an equal (or greater) amount of growth than is set out in the local authority’s development plan and in regional and national guidance (e.g. the London Plan).

Provided that all the conditions are met, local people will be able to vote on the plan in a referendum. If the plan is approved by a majority of those who vote, then the local authority will bring it into force.

If you want to find out more about neighbourhood plans, please see our Frequently Asked Questions on neighbourhood plans and the Neighbourhood Planning Protocol (pdf, 5.0 MB)

Neighbourhood plans in Richmond

On 16 January 2014, we approved the designation of the Ham and Petersham Neighbourhood Forum and Area.  The Forum submitted their draft Neighbourhood Plan on 14 September 2017.  A referendum on the Plan was held on 18 October 2018, with 84% of participating voters in support the Plan.  The Plan was formally adopted by Council on Tuesday, 22 January 2019.  As a result, the Plan now forms part of the borough’s statutory development plan, and will be used alongside the Council’s own planning documents to determine planning applications in the Neighbourhood Area.

Find out more about Ham and Petersham Forum Neighbourhood Plan.

Further information

If you would like more information, please contact the Local Plan Team.

Telephone: 020 8891 1411

Updated: 02 July 2021

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