Neighbourhood planning allows communities to come together (through a parish council or neighbourhood forum) to have more of a say on the future of the places where they live and work. There is a legal framework to produce a neighbourhood plan. Neighbourhood plans have to undergo formal consultation, independent examination and pass a local referendum. However, if successful then they become part of the statutory development plan and will be used in making planning decisions. The following links takes you to the government guidance which provides a full explanation of neighbourhood planning.

Made Plans

The following neighbourhood plans have been formally ‘made’ part of the development plan for North Dorset:

Proposals for development within these areas should be considered against policies in the respective neighbourhood plan, alongside policies in the Local Plan, national planning policies, and other material considerations.

Support, advice and funding

An officer from the planning policy team will be made available to provide technical support to neighbourhood plan working groups and will be a first point of contact for communities who are doing neighbourhood planning. 

However neighbourhood plan production should be led by the community, and there is an expectation that local people should volunteer and, where necessary, find additional funding, to do what work is needed. Further information on the support (including grant funds) available to communities producing neighbourhood plans is available from:

Gathering Information

You will need to have a good understanding of the issues that you need to address and the constraints on development in your area. If the local community has completed a community or parish plan, this should provide a useful indicator of the likely issues that the neighbourhood plan should hope to resolve. Basic information is available about your local area, such as information about housing, businesses, services, transport, traffic issues and natural and historic features. Useful links include:

Local people can get involved in information gathering, for example from doing a walk-around of the area highlighting problems and opportunities, or mapping how the local area has changed in people's lifetimes, to provide a better picture of the scale of past change.

Knowledge of the Local Plan policies affecting your area is also important, as neighbourhood plans must be in general conformity with strategic policies.  Consideration also needs to be given to the National Planning Policy Framework.


Parish Councils who have not already done so can sign up to the Public Sector Mapping Agreementin order to use our Ordnance Survey data without getting into any copyright difficulties.