Neighbourhood Plans

Community-Led Plans are grass-roots initiatives led by local people planning for the future of their own village, parish or neighbourhood. They do this by producing a common vision of how their community should look or develop in the future and working together to achieve this through the planning system and other means. There are different types of community-led plans that can be prepared, depending on what the community wishes to achieve:

A Parish or Town plan

A parish or town plan sets out what the local community considers to be the priorities for their area in the form of a positive vision for the future and an action plan setting out how that vision can be achieved. A Parish or Town Plan can contain more than just planning issues and is a useful document as it consolidates the views of a local community and can be used to help attract funding and lobby for change.

A Village or Town design statement (VDS)

A village or town design statement (VDS) sets out what the local community considers to be the physical character of the area and how this should be protected and enhanced. A Village or Town Design Statement is a document that identifies what is special, unique and distinctive about the character of the place and provides design guidance to influence change and improve the physical qualities of the area. The Council has produced a guidance leaflet to assist those communities that are thinking of preparing a VDS (see Guidance Leaflet in the useful documents area of this page).

A neighbourhood plan

A neighbourhood plan is a new form of planning document introduced by the Localism Act that can be prepared by the local community setting out planning policies for the local area. The Government has made it clear that Neighbourhood Plans must be

  • in line with the strategic vision for the local area (as set out in the Local Plan);
  • in line with national planning policies (as set out in the National Planning Framework);
  • meet strict legal requirements; and
  • supported by local people in a referendum.

If the plan is approved by a majority, then the Council will bring it into force. Any community or group thinking of preparing a Neighbourhood Plan should carefully consider whether their objectives could be more easily fulfilled by preparing a Parish/Town Plan or Village/Town Design Statement, which would be a lot easier and cheaper to produce. It is also important to bear in mind the amount of work and time that will be required to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan and to ensure it meets all the necessary legal requirements. For more information about detailed process of preparing Neighbourhood Plans please see the useful links area on the this page, or contact the Council’s planning policy team on 01255 686188, you can also email

The following areas have made or are in the process of making a Neighbourhood Plan:

Thinking of preparing a community-led plan?

If your community is thinking of preparing any of the above community-led plans the recommended first step is to make contact with The Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE) (see useful links area on this page), which is an independent charity helping communities throughout Essex build a sustainable future. Please contact Sarah Sapsford on 0844 4773938 (or email for more information. It is also important that you alert the Council and seek some informal advice beforehand. Please contact 01255 686188 (or email for more information).

Recently completed community-led projects in Tendring can be viewed in the useful documents area on this page.

Planning meeting

Useful documents and links

TDC VDS guidance leaflet

RCCE Community-led planning leaflet

Alresford Parish Plan (2008)

Ardleigh VDS (2011)

Brightlingsea Town Plan (2011)

Frating Village Appraisal (2006)

Great Bentley Village Appraisal (1999)

Great Bromley Village Appraisal (2006)

Great Holland VDS and Parish Plan (2010)

Great Oakley Parish Plan (2004)

Jaywick Community Plan (2003)

St. Osyth Parish Plan (2004)

Thorrington Village Appraisal (2008)

Wrabness Parish Plan (2008)

The Rural Community Council of Essex(link is external)

Plain English Guide to the Localism Act(link is external)

Neighbourhood Planning Guide


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