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Step six - preparing your plan

Case officer

When we write to you explaining how much funding you’ll get, we will also assign you a case officer who specialises in neighbourhood plans. This person is your first point of contact and will:

  • help and advise you throughout the process, right up until the successful adoption of your plan
  • help you create your project plan if necessary
  • come along to steering group meetings when invited to offer advice and guidance, with the benefit of experience from working with many other groups creating neighbourhood plans.

Getting to work

If you already have a community led plan, it can help you with some of the first steps that follow.  Otherwise, preparing your plan will involve:

  • gathering information about the plan area
  • finding out the local community’s aspirations and priorities
  • drafting a vision for the area
  • setting out a clear purpose for a plan including identifying goals or objectives you want the plan to achieve
  • drafting planning policies to help deliver the objectives of the plan
  • publicising the plan locally, inviting comments from people who live, work and carry out business in the area.

Gathering evidence and opinion

You need to gather reliable and up to date information and evidence. You will need to gather detailed evidence like local housing need but it is useful to start with the evidence we’ve collected for our Local Plan, as well as our neighbours in South Oxfordshire.

Link icon Vale of White Horse District Council’s evidence – Local Plan Examination Library

Link icon  South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning policy evidence page This link will take you to an external website...

You must engage and consult with your local community – this must be widespread and inclusive and should continue throughout the development of the plan.

Your case officer can put you in contact with Oxfordshire Rural Community Council (ORCC) who can help you engage with your community and help you gather evidence.

How to create a plan

Here are some useful links to help you through each stage of creating your plan

Link icon Planning Aid England have guides for every step of the process This link will take you to an external website...

How your plan will affect the environment, the community and the economy

To meet the minimum legal requirements, you may need to carry out a Strategic Environmental Assessment (an SEA) - we will carry out an ‘SEA screening’ early on to see if you need to. Please complete this ‘screening questionnaire’ (28.5 KB) Word 97-2003 .  If you do need one, you may find this example of an SEA table (52.5 KB) Word 97-2003 useful.

We recommend you carry out a simple review of how the policies you are drafting will affect the social, environmental and economic aspects of your community.  This is checking the ‘sustainability’ of your plan – it will make sure your plan meets the basic conditions and will satisfy the independent examiner.


Link icon ’DIY SA’ sustainability appraisal (including SEA) of neighbourhood plans – by Levett-Therivel sustainability consultants and URS Scott Wilson, August 2011  This link will take you to an external website...


Last reviewed: 11 - 05 - 2017

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