Neighbourhood Planning

Neighbourhood Planning is a new option for communities to decide the future of the places where they live.  Neighbourhood Planning can include a number of planning documents prepared by local communities:

  • Neighbourhood Development Plans
  • Neighbourhood Development Orders (NDO)
  • Community Right to Build Order (CRtBO)

Neighbourhood Plans, NDOs and CRtBOs can be used to add more detail to the policies in the Council’s plans, or cover other aspects appropriate to the aspirations of the community living in the area. 

Once ‘made’ by the Council, the Neighbourhood Plan, NDO or CRtBO will form part of the Development Plan for East Cambridgeshire and will be used in determining planning applications in the area.

Who can do Neighbourhood Planning?

Town and Parish Councils are the only organisation who can prepare a Neighbourhood Plan or NDO for their area, although they are likely to need help from local volunteers.  CrtBOs may be prepared by a constituted community organisation.

Preparing a Neighbourhood Plan

Designating the Neighbourhood Area

The process for producing a Neighbourhood Plan involves first designating the Neighbourhood Area – the area to which the Neighbourhood Plan will cover, such as a parish or village.  The Town or Parish Council should make an application to East Cambs District Council.  To help, an application form is provided below.

Writing the Plan

Writing the Plan involves consultation with the people who live, work and visit in the area.  The plan should also be based on evidence, such as surveys, statistics and the East Cambs Local Plan.

Independent Examination

Once submitted to the District Council, the Plan will be examined by an independent examiner.


If successful at examination, the District Council will arrange a referendum.  People who live in the Neighbourhood Area will be asked to vote on whether the Neighbourhood Plan should be used in determining planning applications in the area.

How Local Plans and Neighbourhood Plans fit together

East Cambridgeshire District Council has recently commenced preparation of a new Local Plan for the district.  The Council has published a briefing note to clarify how Local Plans and Neighbourhood Plans fit together in the planning process.  The briefing note is available to download below.

Find out more

The District Council has produced a Guidance Note which sets out the key stages in neighbourhood planning and outlines the assistance the Council will give at each stage. It is hoped that this document will address many of the questions which may arise during the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan. The Guidance Note can be found below.

For more information, call the Strategic Planning Team Team on 01353 665555 or email


East Cambridgeshire's Neighbourhood Planning Projects

This section provides a summary of neighbourhood planning projects in East Cambridgeshire, including details of how to have your say in current consultations. 

There are currently three designated Neighbourhood Areas in East Cambridgeshire, covering the parishes of Bottisham, Sutton and Witchford.  For full details please contact the relevant parish or town council.

Sutton Parish

On 8 January 2015, the District Council approved an application made by Sutton Parish Council to designate the parish of Sutton as a Neighbourhood Area.  Papers from the Council meeting are available at:

The Neighbourhood Area application, map and consultation responses are available to download below.

Bottisham Parish

On 12 February 2016 the Council approved, without amendment, an application to designate the whole of Bottisham parish as a Neighbourhood Area.

The application was made by Bottisham Parish Council, the ‘relevant body’ for neighbourhood planning in the parish.  The Council published the Bottisham application from 11 January to 08 February 2016.

A map of the Neighbourhood Area, consultation responses and other key documents are available to download using the links below.

Witchford Parish

On 26 August 2016 the Council approved, without amendment, Witchford Parish Council's application to designate the whole of Witchford Parish as a Neighbourhood Area. The application was published from 20 July to 19 August 2016. A map of the designated Neighbourhood Area, the Council's determination report and other supporting documents are available to download below.