Neighbourhood Forums

What are Neighbourhood Forums?

Neighbourhood Forums are community groups that are designated to take forward Neighbourhood Planning in areas without Parish or Town Councils.

An existing organisation or group of individuals can decide to establish a proposed Neighbourhood Forum and then approach their local authority to become officially designated as the Neighbourhood Forum for that area.

Businesses can also play a leading role in the setting up of Neighbourhood Forums and development of Neighbourhood Plans. When the Council considers an application for a Neighbourhood Forum we will also consider designating the Neighbourhood Area as a Business Area if it is predominately business in nature.

Basic criteria

A Neighbourhood Forum has to demonstrate that:

  • It has been established for the express purpose of promoting or improving the social, economic and environmental well-being of an area that consists of or includes the Neighbourhood Area concerned
  • Its membership must be open to all people who live in the Neighbourhood Area concerned, people who work there (whether for businesses carried on there or otherwise), and elected Members.
  • Its membership must include a minimum of 21 people each of whom either lives or works in the area or is an elected member
  • It has a written constitution.

It can also have the express purpose of promotion of business interests.

How do I apply?

To be designated a Neighbourhood Forum you will have to submit an application to Three Rivers District Council. This application must include:

  • the name of your proposed Neighbourhood Forum
  • a copy of your written constitution of the proposed Neighbourhood Forum
  • the name of the Neighbourhood Area to which your application relates and a map which identifies the area
  • contact details of at least one member of the proposed Neighbourhood Forum which will be made public, and
  • a statement explaining how your proposed Neighbourhood Forum meets conditions contained in section 61F(5) of the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act.

The statement referred to above should:

  • State the name of the proposed Neighbourhood Forum, details of its constitution and contact details of all members;
  • State why the applicant qualifies as a Neighbourhood Forum
  • Name and set out the area it covers (i.e. its geographical limits); and
  • State why the area is suitable for Neighbourhood Planning.

What will the Council do once they receive an application for a Neighbourhood Forum?

The Council will consult on the application for a minimum period of six weeks. We will publish a copy of the application together with details of how to make representations and a statement saying if a designation is to be made that no other organisation or body may be designated for that Neighbourhood Area.

As soon as possible after the consultation period, once we are satisfied that the criteria have been met, we will designate the Neighbourhood Forum and the area it proposes to cover and publicise this on our website.

What happens if someone else puts in an application for the same area?

We will not consider further applications where a Neighbourhood Forum and area have already been designated. However, where a Neighbourhood Forum hasn’t been designated and we receive more than one application, we will consider both.

What happens if my application is unsuccessful?

We will publish a statement setting out the decision and the reasons why the application has been refused.

Related Pages

Neighbourhood Development Orders
Neighbourhood Development Plans

Further information

The Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 sets out the procedures for neighbourhood Forums

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