No Neighbourhood Planning Referendums until 06 May 2021

Posted on 11th April, 2020

Information from Locality:


"There are some important changes to neighbourhood planning that we want to bring to your attention from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG):

Regulations linked to the Coronavirus Act 2020 mean that no elections or referendums can take place until 6 May 2021. This includes neighbourhood planning referendums. These provisions will be kept under review and may be amended or revoked in response to changing circumstances.


MHCLG understands this will be frustrating for communities that have dedicated significant time and effort to the neighbourhood planning process and naturally want their plans to come into force as soon as possible. With this in mind, they have updated current planning guidance to set out that neighbourhood plans awaiting referendums can be given significant weight in decision-making.


MHCLG recognises there will be delays in progressing neighbourhood plans due to the social distancing measures currently in place across the UK. The updated planning guidance also provides further advice on the implications for conducting publicity and consultation, and examinations."

MHCLG - FAQs on changes to neighbourhood planning in response to Coronavirus (Covid-19)


NB North Somerset's New Local Plan Consultation states:

"To provide clarity for future neighbourhood plans, the Local Plan will identify the housing requirements on a parish basis in the strategic policies" and


"any neighbourhood development plans that are “made” in the next three years becoming out of date as soon as the new Local Plan is adopted."


Full Extract:


"What changes have been introduced to neighbourhood planning in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?


The government has been clear that all members of society are required to adhere to guidance to help combat the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The guidance has implications for neighbourhood planning including: the referendum process; decision-making; oral representations for examinations; and public consultation. This planning guidance supersedes any relevant aspects of current guidance on neighbourhood planning, including in paragraphs 007, 056, 057, 061 and 081 until further notice.

Referendums: All neighbourhood planning referendums that have been recently cancelled, or are scheduled to take place, between 16 March 2020 and 5 May 2021 are postponed in line with the Local Government and Police and Crime Commissioner (Coronavirus) (Postponement of Elections and Referendums) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 until 6 May 2021.


Decision-making: Where the local planning authority has issued a decision statement (as set out under Regulation 25 of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012) detailing its intention to send a neighbourhood plan to referendum, that plan can be given significant weight in decision-making, so far as the plan is material to the application.


Examinations: The general rule remains that examinations should be conducted by written representations. If an examiner considers that oral representations are necessary, these should not take place in person. Where feasible, oral representations may still take place using video conferencing or other suitable technologies.


Public consultation: Neighbourhood planning groups or local planning authorities intending to undertake public consultation and notification (as set out under Regulation 14 and Regulation 16 respectively of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012) should consider the government’s current guidance on staying at home and away from others or any superseding guidance."

Paragraph: 107 Reference ID: 41-107-20200407


Revision date: 07 04 2020

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