Neighbourhood planning

Guidance for communities that are deciding the future of the places where they live and work.

Neighbourhood planning is a way for communities to decide the future of their local area. Information on what neighbourhood planning is, why it matters, advice and support for communities is available on GOV.UK.

Neighbourhood plans:

  • are usually prepared by local town or parish councils
  • conform with national and local planning policies
  • are subject to independent examination and local referendum before being formally adopted.

Once a neighbourhood plan is ‘made’, it becomes part of the local statutory development plan and forms the basis for determining planning applications in that area. A neighbourhood development order enables the community to grant planning permission for the development it wishes to see.

For further information about neighbourhood planning, contact your district or borough council or the South Downs National Park Authority.

How we support neighbourhood planning

Once a draft neighbourhood plan has been prepared, we aim to comment on any significant potential impacts on our services. Information about the matters relating to our services that should be considered when preparing neighbourhood plans is provided below.

Parish councils receive a proportion of money through the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) as a result of development in their area. This money must be used to fund the provision, improvement, replacement, operation or maintenance of infrastructure; or anything else that is concerned with addressing the demands that development places on the area.

West Sussex County Council (WSCC) maintains a list of potential Local Transport Improvement schemes (LTIP). Money received through the CIL by parish councils could be used to help deliver these schemes in their area.

For more information about potential LTIP schemes, email

Planning for education provision is closely related to the planning system because of changes within the population due to new housing growth. School admissions policies and consideration of parental preference are also important factors in school place planning.

The qualifying bodies involved in neighbourhood planning should consider the effect new housing may have on schools in the plan area and, if required, how a new school or expansion of an existing school could be delivered.

Information about schools (including publicly maintained schools), the number on roll (NOR), net capacity of individual schools, as well as the capacity of the planning area is set out in the Planning school places document.

The 'Explaining contribution calculations' explains how WSCC calculates pupil yield from new development for the improvement and expansion of existing schools. Strategic and larger development may be subject to bespoke requirements.

Ensuring a high quality communications network is available across the county is essential in supporting business growth and social wellbeing. As more people are working from home, the need to provide quality broadband is more important than ever.

WSCC is working with the district and borough councils to secure greater coverage of full fibre infrastructure by attracting further commercial investment, to ensure housing and business growth is fully supported by high quality broadband and improved coverage in rural areas.

The qualifying bodies involved in neighbourhood planning should consider the importance of supporting gigabit-capable full fibre connections for new development in its policies, as well as improving connectivity in rural areas and support for installation of new telecommunication equipment.

Libraries are integral to the communities; they serve and provide a far wider service than solely loaning of books and development of new homes across the county places increased pressure on library services.

WSCC seek developer contributions from new residential development to offer our services to an increasing population. Information on how West Sussex calculates contributions can be found in the Explaining contribution calculations document.

The qualifying bodies involved in neighbourhood planning should consider the impact of any proposed development on its local library service and offer support to improve and expand library services where required.

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service (WSFRS) are responsible for several functions besides firefighting. Increased development results in an increase in the number of incidents they must respond to, including fires and road traffic collisions. Protection, prevention and increasing WSFRS capabilities through new technologies are a priority, to enable the service to function as efficiently as possible.

Considerations for new development regarding WSFRS is usually dealt with at the planning application stage. However, the qualifying bodies involved in neighbourhood planning should consider supporting the retention and improvement of WSFRS in their area. Further information regarding future development of the WSFRS can be found in the Integrated Risk Management Plan 2018-22.

As the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), WSCC is responsible for local flood risk, which includes flooding from surface water, groundwater and ordinary water courses. The LLFA can provide qualifying bodies involved in neighbourhood planning with information about drainage and local flood risk in the preparation of neighbourhood plans.

A local planning authority’s Strategic Flood Risk Assessment should be the primary source of flood risk information in considering whether a neighbourhood plan area may be appropriate for development. The Environment Agency provides surface water flood risk mapping via the flood warning information service.

Further information is available at:

WSCC is the Minerals Planning Authority (MPA) and Waste Planning Authority (WPA) for the areas outside the South Downs National Park (SDNP) in West Sussex and are responsible for preparing local plans for minerals and waste with which neighbourhood plans must be in general conformity.

Although minerals and waste fall outside of the scope of neighbourhood plans, they should take into account the safeguarding of mineral resources, minerals infrastructure and waste sites (both allocated and permitted sites).

For more detailed information on safeguarding minerals and waste in West Sussex, please refer to the Minerals and Waste Safeguarding Guidance.

West Sussex County Council are the local highway authority and review the highway and transport implications of a neighbourhood plan.

At the neighbourhood planning stage, it is only possible to provide high level and suggestive comments. The full transport implications of sites cannot be considered until more detailed transport statements or assessments are considered at the planning application stage.

The qualifying bodies involved in neighbourhood planning should provide relevant and proportional evidence to show that highway and transport impacts of any proposed allocations have been properly considered. This includes whether the site can provide a safe means of access for all modes, whether the local highway network can cater for the likely transport impact of development, which may include transport modelling of key junctions, and set out any highway improvements that may be required to mitigate the demands of any proposed development.

Find further information about considering the transport implications of proposed allocations below.

The Care Act 2014 places a duty on West Sussex County Council (WSCC) to ensure there is diversity and quality in the market of care providers, so that there are enough high quality services for people to choose from.

The challenge for social care commissioners and housing authorities lies in shaping the provision of housing support and care for older people, in a way that offers choice and ensures the aspirations and needs of an ageing population can be met.

The qualifying bodies involved in neighbourhood planning should consider ensuring that appropriate provision is made, where relevant, for older people through policies and site allocations. WSCC is currently working on a strategy to identify requirements for additional infrastructure for extra care housing.

The provision and use of Public Rights of Way (PRoW):

  • promotes active travel
  • contributes to healthy lifestyles
  • gives people opportunities to access and enjoy the beautiful West Sussex countryside
  • provides valuable ways for people to travel safely to shops, workplaces and other community facilities without contributing to air pollution or climate change.

The qualifying bodies involved in neighbourhood planning should consider opportunities to protect and improve the network to provide better facilities for users, including:

  • walkers
  • cyclists
  • horse riders
  • carriage drivers
  • motorised vehicle users
  • less able users.

Further information is available on our PRoW web pages.

Last updated:
24 June 2024
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