MP supports Parliamentary Bill to strengthen neighbourhood plans

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has co-sponsored a Parliamentary Bill to give neighbourhood plans more protection from speculative planning applications by developers.


The Private Member’s Bill, which was introduced in the Commons by Conservative MP John Howells last week (Tuesday 4 December), aims to limit the grounds of appeal against decisions on planning applications when the proposed development is inconsistent with a neighbourhood or local plan. 


Concerns have been raised, including by Mr Herbert, that neighbourhood plans are being undermined by developers, even when the plans are passed in a local referendum.


Mr Herbert has won greater protections for neighbourhood plans, but has argued that further measures are needed, warning that public support for the plans, which are produced by volunteers, is damaged when they are subverted by developers.


As well as giving local communities a voice in the planning process, neighbourhood plans typically provide for some 10 per cent more housing than originally envisaged.


Last week Mid Sussex District Council’s Planning Committee rejected an application by Rydon Homes for a housing development in Hassocks which fell outside the village’s draft neighbourhood plan.  Mr Herbert had written to the Council urging them to uphold the planning process.


Mr Howell, who was Government Champion for neighbourhood plans, told the Commons: “I want to reassure … communities that neighbourhood plans are fundamental documents and that the effort made in producing them is worthwhile ….  The Bill would provide that, where a district or parish has taken control of the planning requirements in their area, that view is an important and determining one for taking applications forward.”


Mr Herbert said: “I was delighted to co-sponsor this Bill.  We need to give greater protection to neighbourhood plans, which give communities more control over development and actually produce more housing than expected by consent.”


The Bill received an unopposed First Reading in the Commons but with no parliamentary time allocated it is unlikely to make further progress.  MPs will now focus on persuading the Government to adopt its measures.





For further information please contact Michelle Taylor on 07928 529783.



Notes for Editors


1.     The Hansard report of John Howell MP’s speech when introducing the Bill can be found at (NB. other MPs who co-sponsor or support a ’10 Minute Rule’ Bill cannot speak or intervene at this stage).


2.     To read Nick’s news release (November 2018) ‘MP asks Council to reject speculative Hassocks housing bid’ see, and ‘MP welcomes decision to refuse speculative Hassocks development’

3.     To read Nick’s intervention on the Secretary of State’s statement to the House on the National Planning Policy Framework (March 2018) see


4.     To read Nick’s news release (July 2018) ‘MP calls for planning loopholes to be closed’ see


5.     To read and watch Nick’s speech made in a Commons debate on planning (July 2018) see