Neighbourhood planning

Communities can prepare neighbourhood plans to influence the future of their areas. These let people set out their vision for their local area and general planning policies to guide development in their neighbourhood.

Neighbourhood planning applications and decisions

Neighbourhood planning process

If you’re thinking of preparing a neighbourhood plan in your area, this guide will take you through the application process.

Before applying, we ask you to get in touch to discuss your plans and timetable. Email or call us on 020 8356 8084.

The area you should plan for is known as the ‘neighbourhood area’ and the group that creates the neighbourhood plans is called a ‘neighbourhood forum’. These need to be agreed with the Council.

Neighbourhood area

First, you should submit your proposal for a neighbourhood area. We will publicise this for six weeks before making a decision on whether to designate the area. Your group must be considered capable of being designated as a neighbourhood forum when you submit your application.

Neighbourhood forum

We will then consider applications for proposed neighbourhood forums. Your forum must meet a number of criteria including having a written constitution and ensuring it is reflective of the character of the designated neighbourhood area. Once a valid application for a neighbourhood forum has been accepted, we will publicise it for 6 weeks before making a decision.

Applications for neighbourhood areas and forums at the same time

We have the discretion to accept applications for neighbourhood areas and forums at the same time. This may happen in some circumstances and a combined publication period of eight weeks would be allowed to make sure the community has enough time to consider the proposal and for any other groups to come forward.

See the Department for Communities and Local Government for more information about the legislation.

Withdrawing a group’s designation

We can withdraw a group’s designation (with reasons) at any time if we consider that the group is no longer meeting the conditions of designation or any other criteria to which we were required to have considered in making the designation. This will be monitored through meeting minutes and council officers.

We will publish a map setting out the areas that are designated as neighbourhood areas.

Application process

  1. prepare your application
    1. meeting the conditions
    2. submit your application
  2. publicising your application
  3. determining a designation
  4. publicising a designation

Preparing your application

The below should be included with your application for a neighbourhood area:

  • names of the neighbourhood area and forum to be designated
  • map identifying proposed neighbourhood area (electronic format under 3MB or an A3 hard copy)
  • statement explaining why this area is considered appropriate
  • copy of the written constitution of the proposed forum
  • contact details of at least one member of the proposed forum to be made public
  • statement explaining how the proposed forum meets the conditions outlined below

You can send this information to us in your own format or download our template:

Meeting the conditions

The Town and Country Planning Act (new Section 61F(5)) prescribes the following conditions that must be met:

(a) Your forum has been established for the express purpose of promoting or improving the social, economic and environmental well-being of the neighbourhood area. See the national planning policy framework.

(b) Your forum’s membership is open to:

  • individuals who live in the neighbourhood area concerned
  • individuals who work there (whether for business carried on there or otherwise)
  • individuals who are elected members of the London Borough of Hackney  any of whose area falls within the neighbourhood area concerned

(c) Your forum’s membership includes a minimum of 21 individuals each of whom either:

  • live in the neighbourhood area concerned
  • work there (whether for a business carried on there or otherwise)
  • are an elected member of the London Borough of Hackney any of whose area falls within the neighbourhood area concerned

(d) Your forum has a written constitution

(e) Other conditions. The Council will be particularly interested in ensuring that:

  • your membership has been drawn from different places in the area and from different sections of the community
  • the forum has an open membership policy
  • your purpose reflects the character of that area – it would be helpful to set this out generally under the headings of social, environmental and economic
  • your area does not overlap with any other designated neighbourhood area
  • there is a clear process for considering the views of members of the forum and area

Submit your application

Send your application by post or email:

Strategic Delivery
Spatial Planning Service
3rd floor, 2 Hillman Street
E8 1FB


Publicising your application

As soon as possible after accepting or validating your application that meets the above conditions, we will publish your application on the council’s website and in Hackney Today. This is to allow people who live, work and do business in the application area at least eight weeks to comment. We will publish:

  • a copy of the application including a map outlining the area
  • a statement that if a designation is made no other organisation or body may be designated for that neighbourhood area until that designation expires or is withdrawn
  • details of how to make representations
  • the date by which those representations must be received, at least six weeks from the date the application is first publicised

Hackney Today publication dates.

Determining a designation

During the consultation period, if we have not received any objections from alternative groups wishing to designate an alternative forum and/or area, then the cabinet will decide whether to designate the area and forum. The Council will check that the above conditions have been met and whether any boundaries of the proposed area overlap with other designations already made.

The designation will take effect for five years beginning from the day it is determined.

Publicising a designation

As soon as possible after designating a neighbourhood area and forum, we will publish on our website:

  • the names of the neighbourhood area and forum
  • a map which identifies the area
  • a copy of the written constitution of the neighbourhood forum
  • the name of the neighbourhood area to which the designation relates
  • contact details for at least one member of the neighbourhood forum

If we refuse to designate a neighbourhood area and forum, we will publish on our website:

  • a ‘refusal statement’ setting out the Council’s decision and reasons for making that decision
  • details of where and when the refusal statement can be inspected
Page updated on: 12 September 2019