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Neighbourhood planning

What is neighbourhood planning?

Accessibility: please note that the neighbourhood plan documents are written by the communities. The documents are not developed by nor under the control of the councils and are therefore exempt from the accessibility regulations. However, we aim to make documents accessible, and look to work with parishes as they are being prepared to make them accessible.

What is neighbourhood planning?

Neighbourhood planning is a community led initiative giving local communities power to prepare a planning document that forms part of the statutory development plan for the area, and which can be used in deciding planning applications in the local neighbourhood area. A neighbourhood plan cannot promote less development than the Local Plan.

A Neighbourhood Plan must be broadly consistent with the Local Plan for the district, and must be in general conformity with the strategic policies in the Local Plan. 

It is not a legal requirement to prepare a plan but a right, which communities can use to shape the future of their neighbourhood. There are national regulations that set out how a neighbourhood plan must be prepared and grants available to help local communities achieve this.

This can be done through a neighbourhood plan, a neighbourhood development order or a community right to build order, all of which follow similar processes.

A neighbourhood plan helps set out a community's vision for their area over 10, 15, 20 years. Once agreed, the neighbourhood plan has the same legal status as the Local Plan, so decisions on planning applications must take the neighbourhood plan into consideration.

A neighbourhood plan can:

  • propose more development than the Local Plan
  • allocate sites for development for housing, employment, and community uses
  • protect what is special about an area by identifying green spaces or local heritage assets
  • help to determine the type and design of new development

The neighbourhood plan cannot:

  • propose less growth than in the Local Plan
  • prevent any development from ever taking place in an area
  • be prepared without community input and support
  • conflict with local, national or international policies

You can find out more about neighbourhood planning by visiting Locality or MyCommunity.

Made neighbourhood plans

There are currently 8 adopted neighbourhood plans in Greater Cambridge.


Neighbourhood area designations

A neighbourhood area must be designated before a neighbourhood plan can be submitted for the area.

There are currently 14 neighbourhood areas designated in Greater Cambridge. Click on each area below to view the status of the neighbourhood plans in development in the designated neighbourhood areas:

Cambridge City Council neighbourhood areas

South Cambridgeshire District Council neighbourhood areas

The South Cambridgeshire neighbourhood plans map (April 2023) shows all the neighbourhood areas designated and neighbourhood plans made within the South Cambridgeshire District Council boundary.

Please see the below table with reference to the South Cambridgeshire neighbourhood plans map (April 2023).

Neighbourhood Area Designated Pre-Submission Consultation on draft Neighbourhood Plan Neighbourhood Plan Submitted and Submission Consultation on Neighbourhood Plan Neighbourhood Plan Examination  Neighbourhood Plan Referendum Neighbourhood Plan Made
Babraham Thriplow - - - Cottenham
Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth - - - - Foxton
Harston - - - - Fulbourn
Horseheath - - - - Gamlingay
Linton and Hildersham - - - - Great Abington Former Land Settlement Association Estate
Melbourn - - - - Histon and Impington
Orwell - - - - Waterbeach
Pampisford - - - - West Wickham
Sawston - - - - -
Stapleford and Great Shelford - - - - -
Swavesey  - - - - -
Whittlesford - - - - -


Neighbourhood planning support offer

As the local planning authority, we have a statutory duty to support and assist designated neighbourhood forums (Cambridge City Council boundary) and Parish Councils (South Cambridgeshire District Council boundary) interested in preparing neighbourhood plans.

Please read our Support Offer, (adopted July 2018), which sets out how we will support Parish Councils preparing neighbourhood plans.

Further information on how we can support local groups can be found in our statement of community involvement, or by contacting the neighbourhood planning team.


Neighbourhood planning toolkit

Our Neighbourhood planning toolkit has been designed to help local communities decide whether they want to get involved in creating a neighbourhood plan and if they do, how to go about preparing a neighbourhood plan.

  1. Introduction (adopted February 2018)

Deciding to produce a Neighbourhood Plan

  1. Is a neighbourhood plan the right tool for your Parish? (adopted December 2017)
  2. Getting started (adopted December 2017)

Preparing the Plan

  1. Getting a neighbourhood area designated (adopted December 2017)

Applications to designate a Neighbourhood Area should be made using our application form.

  1. Developing a vision and objectives (adopted December 2017)
  2. Generating options (adopted December 2017)
  3. Writing planning policies (adopted February 2018)
  4. Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) (adopted February 2018)
  5. Sources of evidence and information (adopted December 2017)
  6. Community engagement and Neighbourhood Plans (adopted December 2017)
  7. What are the basic conditions and how to meet them (adopted December 2017)
  8. Strategic policies (adopted December 2017)
  9. Site assessment (adopted December 2017)
  10. Maps for Neighbourhood Plans (adopted December 2017), updated Appendix 2 (Print Costs) (published December 2019)
  11. Affordable housing (adopted December 2017)