Neighbourhood Planning

Abbots Langley Neighbourhood Area

On 18 November 2014 the Sustainable Development, Planning and Transport Committee of Three Rivers District Council designated the whole of Abbots Langley Parish as a Neighbourhood Area. A copy of the Decision Notice and a map of the Designated Area can be accessed below.  

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The Parish Council are now able to begin work on a Neighbourhood Plan for Abbots Langley. A Neighbourhood Plan, which can become part of the statutory development plan for the designated area, can assist local communities in shaping how their locality develops by establishing general planning policies for the development and use of land within a defined area. The content of a Neighbourhood Plan can be adapted to reflect the local situation but it is likely to include development management policies (e.g. design policies).

To become part of the development plan, a Neighbourhood Plan must receive a majority ‘Yes’ vote in a local referendum organised by the Local Planning Authority. To reach the referendum stage a Neighbourhood Plan needs to progress through several stages:

  1. Completed Neighbourhood Plans are submitted to the Local Planning Authority who need to be satisfied that the submitted plan complies with the strategic priorities of the local development plan (e.g. adopted Core Strategy).

  2. Following a period of public consultation, the submitted plan will be examined by an independent inspector who is required to ensure the plan meets a set of basic conditions and legal requirements.

  3. Following a successful examination, a submitted Neighbourhood Plan can continue to a Local Referendum (in this case within Abbots Langley) and, if successful, be adopted as part of the development plan.


For more information on Neighbourhood Plans please see:


Are there any Neighbourhood Areas in Three Rivers?

Yes, there are currently two designated Neighbourhood Areas. 

Rickmansworth Neighbourhood Area was designated in January 2013. Click here to view details.

The Croxley Green Neighbourhood Area was designated in January 2014. Please click here to view details.

You can also view a map of the District detailing where hte Neighbourhood Areas are:

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What are Neighbourhood Plans?
A Neighbourhood Plan will generally relate to development and the use of land and, at the basic level, contain development management polices such as more detailed design policies. 

Can we stop development from happening in our area?
No. One of the main aims of Neighbourhood Planning is to increase the rate of housing and economic development by improving community buy-in to development proposals. Neighbourhood Plans will not be able to prevent development in a neighbourhood – they can only include proposals for an equal (or greater) amount of growth than is set out in the Three Rivers Local Development Framework (Local Plan) and national guidance.

Who will prepare them?
Neighbourhood Plans can be produced by Town or Parish Councils or, where there is none, a community group in the form of a Neighbourhood Forum . Local communities will be able to propose the boundaries of their neighbourhood. However, if a Parish/Town Council exists, the neighbourhood will reflect the Parish/Town Boundaries.

How much work will be required to produce a Neighbourhood Plan?
The level of work will largely depend on how much detail the plan goes into. This will be decided at the local level. The Plan itself is prepared by the Parish or Town Council or Neighbourhood Forum. 

Neighbourhood Planning Process
There are Government regulations that set out the key stages to be followed. The process will include a number of stages including community engagement and consultation on the draft document. Given that a Neighbourhood Plan, once adopted, will be used to determine planning applications, it is also subject to an examination and a community referendum (the majority of those voting must agree to it) before it can be adopted.

How much will it cost to do a Neighbourhood Plan and who pays?

The cost of producing a Neighbourhood Plan or Development Order will vary depending on its contents.  The development plan system is evidence driven and the purpose of the examination is in part to consider whether a plan is supported by the evidence. It is likely that evidence (usually technical studies) have already been produced by the LPA that will meet the requirements of neighbourhood plans. However some new evidence may be required depending on the nature of the Plan. The LPA will be able to assist with advice on the commissioning of any studies which are necessary but the cost will fall to the Parish Council/Neighbourhood Forum.

Initial estimates range between £15,000 - £50,000 including the Referendum and Examination. Costs may be greater if technical studies are needed to justify the approach being taken (cost of professional fees). 

It will be up to the Parish or Town Council or Neighbourhood Forum to pay for the preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan. The Localism Act suggests that the business community could contribute to the costs. (The District Council has a duty to pay the costs of the Examination and Referendum).

How does a Neighbourhood Plan link with other planning policy?
Neighbourhood Plans are the first plans developed at a Parish/Neighbourhood level with legal force. They are formal statutory documents and are additional to, not a replacement for, the emerging Three Rivers Local Development Framework (Local Plan). If a Neighbourhood Plan is adopted after following the formal process set out above, it will be used by Three Rivers District Council to make decisions on planning applications.  

How can the District Council help?
We have a duty to provide technical advice and support to communities producing a Neighbourhood Plan. The level of support will depend on budgetary and staffing constraints. We also have a duty to: 

  • agree the composition and designate Neighbourhood Forums
  • agree the boundary of the area to be covered by a Neighbourhood Plan
  • organise the independent examination of the Neighbourhood Plan and arrange and fund the referendum
  • formally adopt the Neighbourhood Plan and bring it in to force

Please contact the Development Plans Team at or call us on 01923 776611.

Related Pages

Neighbourhood Forums
Neighbourhood Development Orders

Where can I find further Information?
The Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012
The department for Communities and Local Government has produced An Introduction to Neighbourhood Planning
CPRE have produced a leaflet How to shape where you live: a guide to neighbourhood planning
Neighbourhood Plans will also have to conform to sustainability legislation a DIY Guide to Sustainability Appraisal gives an overview
The Planning Advisory Service has some FAQs on Neighbourhood Planning and A Guide for Ward Councillors
Planning Portal
The Design Council has a series of guides and toolkits for Neighbourhood Planning