Neighbourhood planning

Find out how to get involved in planning and development in your local area.

Neighbourhood planning gives local communities the power to shape development in their area. They can:

  • influence where new homes, shops and offices are built and what these buildings will look like
  • protect local green spaces
  • recognise and protect local heritage buildings or assets
  • influence whether projects get planning permission

Who can create a neighbourhood plan

A neighbourhood plan is developed by a local group which can be a:

  • parish or town council (where one exists)
  • local community group set up for the purpose known as a neighbourhood forum (where there is no town or parish council)

Existing and proposed neighbourhood plans

You can see the existing and emerging neighbourhood plans in the list below. Areas with a completed (adopted) neighbourhood plan are also shown on the map. If you’re interested in getting involved, contact your local neighbourhood forum or parish or town council.

Map of neighbourhood plans

Plans being developed – latest updates

A number of neighbourhood plans are currently being consulted on or a referendum is being held:

Three areas are taking part in a national neighbourhood planning pilot to explore opportunities to simplify the process and to make it more relevant to inner-city communities. These areas are:

  • Chapeltown
  • Harehills
  • Mabgate, Lincoln Green and Burmantofts

Setting up a neighbourhood plan for your area

If there is no neighbourhood plan for your area, you can set one up. Follow the steps below to set up your plan. You can also use our planning and design toolkit (PDF 3MB) to understand design options for your plan.

1. Starting your plan and choosing your area

Speak to us as early as possible to get advice on setting up your neighbourhood planning group. The first stage in the process is to establish the area that the neighbourhood plan will cover, known as the neighbourhood area.                                                                                                             

Parish or town councils should contact us and apply to be designated a neighbourhood area. If the area is a parish, it's normally expected that the whole parish would become a neighbourhood area.                                                                                                             

If you live in an area that does not have a parish or town council (a non-parished area), you’ll need to set up a neighbourhood forum to create your plan (see section 3). Neighbourhood forums must be a group of a minimum of 21 people who represent a cross section of the people who live, work and do business in your area.                                                                                                        

For non-parished areas, when deciding on the area, think about:

  • whether there are physical features that could help you decide such as roads or railway lines
  • where the main facilities are locally such as shops and transport links
  • if there are existing boundaries such as conservation areas
  • whether historical boundaries exist
  • if there are local character areas – such as similar types of housing or design features    

Your forum needs to include people from across your community so early engagement and ownership of the process from an early stage is really important.                            

2. Applying to designate your area

Your application to designate a neighbourhood area must include:                            

  • a map of the proposed neighbourhood area
  • a statement explaining why the area is appropriate to be designated as a neighbourhood area
  • a statement that the organisation making the application is a relevant body (a parish or town council or the capability of going on to be designated as a neighbourhood forum)

If your neighbourhood area covers the whole of a parish area, you’ll need to submit an application to us but we will automatically approve the designation.                                                                                                             

For proposed areas that are not for the whole of a parish, or are for non-parished areas, then the council must publicise the application for a minimum of six weeks and ask people’s views on the proposals. We will do this by:                                                                                                             

  • publishing the map and application on our website
  • displaying the application and map locally (such as in libraries or sports centres)
  • putting up notices within the proposed neighbourhood area

While the six week consultation is taking place you should raise awareness with local people including those who are likely to be less engaged such as younger people or other hard to reach groups.                                                                                                               

If your application is for an area wholly in Leeds, we will designate the area within 13 weeks of the application being publicised. If it crosses into another local authority, we will designate it within 20 weeks.                                                                                                             

3. Setting up a neighbourhood forum

For non-parished areas, you'll need to officially apply to designate your neighbourhood forum group. The forum must include a minimum of 21 people who live, work or carry out business in the neighbourhood area.                                                                                                        

An application for designation must be submitted to the council, and must include:                                                                                                              

  • the name of the neighbourhood forum
  • a copy of the written constitution for the forum (get in touch with us if you need help to write this)
  • the name of the neighbourhood area and a map of the area
  • the contact details of a member of the forum

The application should also include a statement to explain that the forum is being created for the purpose of improving the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of the area.                                                                                                              

We also need to be confident that the forum is representative of the area. Your application could also include details of:                                                                                                               

  • how you have engaged with different sections of the community and included them in the forum where possible
  • how you have engaged people across the whole of your neighbourhood area
  • the groups you have engaged with (or made an effort to engage with)
  • your intentions to engage people as the plan progresses and the people you intend to involve

We will publicise the application for a minimum of six weeks and invite comments from the public. We will do this by:                                                                                                             

  • publishing the application on our website
  • displaying the application locally (such as in libraries or sports centres)
  • putting up notices within the proposed neighbourhood area

If your neighbourhood area is wholly in Leeds, we will designate the neighbourhood forum within 13 weeks of the application being publicised.  If it crosses into another local authority, we will designate the forum within 20 weeks.                                                                                                             

The neighbourhood forum designation lasts for five years. During the five years no other organisation can prepare a neighbourhood plan for the area unless the designation is withdrawn.                                                                                                             

4. Engaging your community

To help you write your plan, you should gather evidence about your community and what they might need. You should:                                                                                                               

  • find information about your residents External link from existing research and surveys
  • find information from existing plans, strategies or studies (we can help you with this)
  • hold discussions with local stakeholders (for example developers and service providers)
  • conduct widespread engagement with the local community
  • make sure your engagement includes different methods (for example include online surveys, drop ins, meetings)

You should develop a vision of what you want your community to look like in the future. This should run up to the end of our strategic plan period which runs until 2033. The vision should be realistic and deliverable and based on the views of the wider community.                                                                                                              

The engagement results should help you to agree the vision for the neighbourhood plan, and a set of objectives which stem from the vision. Your neighbourhood plan will be based on the vision and objectives for the future of your community.                                                                                                             

You should start to prepare the objective evidence that you will need to support your emerging plan, for example:                                                                                                              

  • housing needs surveys
  • character appraisals
  • greenspace assessments

5. Writing your plan

You should set out your vision and objectives at the start of your plan and then include policies which help to deliver this vision.                                                                                                              

The plan can include policies, proposals and aspirations which must be supported by evidence to show that they are realistic and meet national policy and legal requirements. The main requirements (known as the basic conditions) are that the plan must:                                                                                                              

  • conform with national planning policy
  • conform with the strategic policies in the council’s development plan
  • contribute to sustainable development

You should include a proposals map in your plan which should include information about the sites and areas you have discussed in your plan.                                                                                                              

Although not a requirement, we recommend you create a simple policy intentions document. This document should include:                                                                                                              

  • the emerging proposals in the plan
  • sources of evidence
  • community feedback you’ve received

This is a useful step which helps groups to check that they are on the right lines before preparing the full draft of the plan. It is also a useful way of conducting informal consultation with the local community before formal consultation takes place.                                                                                                              

6. Pre-submission consultation

Before you can submit your plan to us, you must conduct a consultation on it, known as the pre-submission consultation. You should publicise the draft plan and advertise it to people who live, work, or carry out business in the neighbourhood area.                                                                                                             

The formal consultation must last for a minimum of six weeks. You must consult the council and a number of other organisations, such as the Environment Agency, Natural England, and Historic England.                                                                                                             

You should use the feedback from the pre-submission consultation to inform your final plan. You are required to demonstrate how you have taken these comments on board as part of your plan.                                                                                                              

7. Submitting your plan and independent examination

Before your plan can go to a referendum, it must be submitted to us for independent examination. The submission of the plan must include:                                                                                                              

  • the draft neighbourhood plan
  • a map of the neighbourhood area
  • a consultation statement (which includes details of who was consulted about the neighbourhood plan, explains how they were consulted, summarises the main issues and concerns that were raised, and describes how these issues were considered and addressed)
  • a basic conditions statement to explain how the plan meets the basic conditions and other relevant legal requirements

We will publicise that your neighbourhood plan has been submitted and ask for people’s views on it. We will do this for a minimum of six weeks.                                                                                                             

We will then pass the comments we receive to an independent examiner as part of the examination process. The examiner is independent and appointed by us to look at the plan and make recommendations to us. The examiner will check whether the neighbourhood plan meets the relevant legal requirements and make one of three possible recommendations to the council:                                                                                                             

  • that the plan should go to a referendum to decide whether to adopt it
  • that the plan should have some changes made and then go to a referendum
  • that the plan doesn’t meet the legal requirements and should not go to referendum

8. Referendum and implementing your plan

If the examiner recommends that the neighbourhood plan should go to a referendum, we will publish a formal decision which explains any changes to make to the plan, and states that a referendum can be held.                                                                                                             

We will organise the referendum, and voting will be open to anyone who is eligible to vote within the neighbourhood area. The referendum question will be:                                                                                                             

Do you want Leeds City Council to use the neighbourhood plan to help decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?                                                                                                           

If the plan receives a majority yes vote, it will be adopted (made) by the council and will become part of the legal development plan. The policies must be taken into consideration when deciding planning applications in the neighbourhood area.                                                                                                             

We will continue to work with neighbourhood planning groups once neighbourhood plans have been adopted to monitor the plan’s implementation. Groups can also review an existing neighbourhood plan. Get in touch with us if you want to do this.                                                                                                               

Contact us

If you need advice on neighbourhood planning please contact the Neighbourhood Planning Team.


0113 378 7997
(9am to 5pm)


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