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Neighbourhood planning

Neighbourhood planning is a method of planning led by the local community rather than by us or the Government.

Local people can now set out the vision and planning policies for how they want their local area to develop by producing a neighbourhood plan.

Neighbourhood plans are about local issues rather than strategic planning issues, but they must take account of existing national and local planning policies.

The Government has not specified the content of neighbourhood plans. This is for the local community to decide. However, the Government’s aim is that they will promote development. They are not about attempts to stop development.

Decision on the proposed Bell Green Neighbourhood Area and Forum 

On the 24th August 2022 the Director of Planning made a delegated decision to refuse the application for the Bell Green Neighbourhood Area and designate a Neighbourhood Area with an amended boundary (please see map below).  The application for the Bell Green Neighbourhood Forum was also refused. 

The reasons for the refusal of the Neighbourhood Area and Forum can be found by accessing the documents below.  

Delegated decision notice for the Bell Green Neighbourhood Area and Forum

Appendix A - Delegated decision notice for the Bell Green Neighbourhood Area and forum

Refusal notice for the Bell Green Neighbourhood Area

Refusal Notice for the Bell Green Neighbourhood Forum

Bell Green Neighbourhood Area and Forum consultation statement

Bell Green Neighbourhood Area and Forum consultation (Schedule of comments)

Map of Designated Bell Green Neighbourhood Area (Amended boundary)

Application on the proposed Bell Green Neighbourhood Area and Forum 

Lewisham Council has received an application from a local community group in the Bell Green Area seeking the designation of a new neighbourhood area and neighbourhood forum. 

A neighbourhood area is a geographical area designated by the Council for which a neighbourhood forum is responsible for neighbourhood planning matters. The proposed Bell Green neighbourhood area encompasses parts of the Bellingham, Perry Vale and Sydenham wards. 

A neighbourhood forum is an organisation or group consisting of residents, business owners, volunteers and Council members designated by the Council and are responsible for neighbourhood planning matters within a designated neighbourhood area.

Proposed Bell Green Neighbourhood Area and Forum application

Designated neighbourhood forums and areas

We currently have two 'made' (brought into force) neighbourhood plans, two active, designated neighbourhood forums at plan preparation stage and two forums no longer designated. For further details please see individual webpages. 

Neighbourhood forums  Neighbourhood areas Status 
 Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park  Crofton Park and Honor Oak Park  Plan 'made' (brought into force)
 Grove Park  Grove Park  Plan 'made' (brought into force)
 Lee  Plan preparation stage
 Sydenham Hill Ridge Sydenham Hill Ridge  Plan preparation stage
 Corbett Estate
Corbett Estate  Forum designation lapsed
 Deptford Neighbourhood Action  Deptford Neighbourhood Action  Re-designation application refused

View the Neighbourhood Planning Forum and area map.

Developing a plan

Neighbourhood planning is driven by the local community at the neighbourhood level.

The local community must come together to identify the geographical boundaries of their neighbourhood, and must form a neighbourhood forum group which will be in charge of developing the plan.

Developing a neighbourhood plan for your area involves submitting three applications to us:

  1. Neighbourhood area application: this application sets out the boundaries of the neighbourhood.
  2. Neighbourhood forum application:
    this application sets out the composition and constitution of the forum, which is the neighbourhood organisation which will produce the neighbourhood plan.
  3. Neighbourhood plan application: the neighbourhood forum submits the neighbourhood plan to us for determination by an independent examiner.

We do not charge a fee for any of the above applications.

Advice, guidance and grants

Please see the guidance notes towards the end of this page for information about the concept of neighbourhood plans and the processes involved.

For further advice on the neighbourhood planning process and the availability of grants, see the My Community Rights website and the Department for Communities and Local Government website.

Our role

Neighbourhood plans are produced by the local community, not by us. However, we will provide support and advice throughout the process by:

  • meeting with prospective neighbourhood planning groups to explain the neighbourhood planning system
  • receiving, publicising and determining neighbourhood area and neighbourhood forum applications
  • receiving and publicising applications for neighbourhood plans
  • arranging and funding independent examinations of neighbourhood plans
  • arranging and funding referendums so that local people can vote on the adoption of neighbourhood plans.

Application process

Local groups need to submit two applications in order to begin the formal neighbourhood planning process:

  • a neighbourhood forum application, and
  • a neighbourhood area application.

Please find the relevant application forms at the bottom of this page.

What is a neighbourhood forum and neighbourhood area?

A neighbourhood forum is a local group which is founded with the purpose of improving the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of a neighbourhood area.

A neighbourhood forum has the ability to create a neighbourhood plan for the area. A neighbourhood plan guides future development of land in the area.

Can neighbourhood areas overlap?

No. The successful designation of a neighbourhood forum and area means that no other community group can be designated as a neighbourhood forum for that area.

What is a neighbourhood plan?

A neighbourhood plan is an optional planning document which is produced by a community group as opposed to us. A neighbourhood plan contains policies relating specifically to the local neighbourhood, and can cover a wide variety of planning-related topics.

Why might you be interested in a neighbourhood forum and neighbourhood planning?

Neighbourhood planning has the potential to address a variety of social, economic and environmental issues in the area, from the types of extensions people can build on their homes, to the delivery of commercial development in the neighbourhood. If you have an interest in these types of issues, then you also have an interest in neighbourhood planning.

How to form a neighbourhood forum or plan

We would like to hear from any group with an interest in forming a neighbourhood forum and/or preparing a neighbourhood plan. Contact us using the details below.


Planning Policy