Despite some of the rhetoric that preceded neighbourhood planning, the CPRE makes it clear that in their view the neighbourhood planning measures enabled through the Localism Act are not about empowering communities to arbitrarily block development that they don’t want imposed on them. Communities of all sizes need some development. Planning, at whatever scale, from neighbourhood to national, provides the context within which development needs are assessed and prioritised, opportunities identified, and solutions realised on the ground.
Neighbourhood planning can empower communities to plan for and/or deliver the development they want in the way that they want it, and planning proactively to meet – and deliver on – local development needs is a powerful tool in staving off speculative planning applications. It also enables communities to help manage the development that they might not necessarily feel they want, but is still needed, in ways that work better locally.