Neighbourhood Plans FAQs

What is neighbourhood planning?

Neighbourhood planning is a way for communities to help decide the future of the places where they live and work. It allows communities to choose where they want new development to go, have their say on what those buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided.

The Localism Act (2011) introduced the right for communities to prepare neighbourhood plans and established the Borough Council's responsibilities in that process. The Neighbourhood Planning Act (2017) extended those responsibilities further. The Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations set out the procedure to be followed in preparing a neighbourhood plan.

Find out more about the Stages of preparing a neighbourhood plan.


Who prepares a neighbourhood plan?

A parish council, town council or similar organisation leads on producing a neighbourhood plan, rather than the Borough Council.


What is the Borough Council's role in Neighbourhood Planning?

The Borough Council, in its role as Local Planning Authority, has a statutory 'duty to support' the body preparing a neighbourhood plan. This could include sharing existing information and evidence base or providing constructive comments on the draft plan.

Once a neighbourhood plan reaches an advanced stage of preparation, the body preparing it submits it to the Borough Council.  The Borough Council is then responsible for administrative tasks in taking the neighbourhood plan forward to completion (called being 'made'). This includes arranging for an independent examination of the neighbourhood plan and then organising a local referendum of residents in the area that the neighbourhood plan will cover to decide whether the plan should be 'made'.


How many neighbourhood plans are there in West Lancashire?

So far, there is one neighbourhood plan in West Lancashire, the Burscough Parish Neighbourhood Plan which covers the Burscough Parish area.  This was produced by Burscough Parish Council (now Town Council) and was 'made' by West Lancashire Borough Council on 26 July 2019, following a referendum in which 89% of voters said 'Yes' to the Plan.


Why is the Burscough Parish Neighbourhood Plan important?

Within Burscough Parish, the Neighbourhood Plan, alongside the West Lancashire Local Plan 2012-27 (adopted October 2013), forms part of the development plan for the area. Planning applications must be determined in accordance with the development plan unless there are notable other reasons (called 'material considerations') to indicate otherwise. As the Burscough Parish Neighbourhood Plan is more up to date than the West Lancashire Local Plan, policies in the former take priority over the latter in the Burscough Parish area.