Here we try to demystify some of the terms associated with Neighbourhood Planning.

We try not to use acronyms and jargon but there may be some unfamiliar terms.

AONB Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – an area of countryside in England, Wales or Northern Ireland which has been designated for conservation due to its significant landscape value. Areas are designated in recognition of their national importance, by the relevant public body, e.g. Natural England. An AONB enjoys levels of protection from development similar to those of UK National Parks, but unlike National Parks do not have their own independent governing authorities or planning powers. They also differ from National Parks in their more limited opportunities for extensive outdoor recreation.
Conservation area In the United Kingdom, the term conservation area nearly always applies to an area (usually urban or the core of a village) considered worthy of preservation or enhancement because of its special architectural or historic interest. The current legislation in England and Wales, the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (Section 69 and 70), defines the quality of a conservation area as being: “the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance”. More than 9,600 have been designated in England.
Consultation statement A document which:
  • Contains the details of the persons and bodies who were consulted about the proposed Neighbourhood Plan;
  • Explains how they were consulted;
  • Summarises the main issues and concerns raised by the persons consulted; and
  • Describes how these issues and concerns have been considered and, where relevant, addressed in the Neighbourhood Plan.
Habitat Regulations Assessment An examination of the potential impact of proposals within a Plan on internationally designated wildlife sites. Abbreviated to HRA.
Housing need A test or appraisal of the needs of the existing population requiring housing.  This includes people who may have left the community in the last 5 years because of a lack of suitable housing or those living within the community who may have a housing need within the next 5 years, typically young people living at home or older residents who wish to move into smaller or adapted homes.
Independent Examiner Neighbourhood Plans are required to pass an examination by an Independent Examiner to ensure that it is compliant or conforms with National Planning Policy Framework and laws as well as the Local Plan for the area. Paid for by the district council, examiners are usually experienced and qualified planning consultants but may be current or former planning inspectors.
Local Planning Authority Under the National Planning Policy Framework, the function of the Local Planning Authority largely rests with the District or Borough councils in Kent or with Metropolitan or Unitary authorities elsewhere. County Councils retain responsibility for waste, minerals and highways planning.
Local Plan A Local Plan is the Local Planning Authority’s key land use plan for the area for the next period, usually ten to fifteen years. At one time these were known as Core Strategies with supplementary or development plan documents.
National Planning Policy Framework The National Planning Policy Framework sets out government’s planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied. The Framework acts as guidance for Local Planning Authorities and decision-takers, both in drawing up plans and making decisions about planning applications.
Steering Group The small group of local volunteers tasked by the Parish Council to take the day to day lead on the development of the Neighbourhood Plan alongside its appointed professional advisors.
Strategic Environmental Assessment Required under European legislation for all Plans which may have a significant effect on the environment. Abbreviated to SEA.
Stakeholder Quite literally, a person or organisation that has a “stake” or interest in the area. These might include businesses, landowners, developers, local groups and organisations including faith group, the district, county and neighbouring parish councils. Residents are, of course, the primary stakeholders but are often referred to simply as residents.

This section will expand over time.  If you have a query about a term we have used, please enter it in the Comment box below.  We will add it to our Glossary together with an explanation.

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