BDC Support

BDC support details

Relationship with Braintree District Council in the preparation of a Neighbourhood Development Plan


Braintree District Council (BDC) has a duty to support the preparation of Neighbourhood Development Plans.  The purpose of this document is to:


  1. Outline the steps in the Neighbourhood Development Plan process;
  2. Explain how BDC will undertake its statutory duties including timescales for responses;
  3. Set out the level and extent of the advice and guidance that BDC will provide;
  4. Set out the responsibilities of the Parish Council /Neighbourhood Forum during the Neighbourhood Development Plan process.



  1. 1.    Steps in the Neighbourhood Development Plan Process



Statutory duties

(section 2)

Support & advice

(section 3)

Initial meeting(s)



Define the neighbourhood area

Reg 7


Establish a steering group



Prepare a project plan



Community engagement



Create an evidence base



Draft a vision and planning objectives



Prepare a draft plan



Consult on the plan (pre submission consultation)

Reg 14


Submit the plan for validation

Reg 15 and 16


Appoint examiner

Reg 17


Independent examination

Reg 18



Reg 4


Plan is made

Reg 19 and 20





  1. 2.    Statutory duties




Publicising the designation of a Neighbourhood Area

Regulation 7

Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012

Decision published on website two weeks following the end of the consultation period


Confirm that the submitted plan meets the requirements of the pre-submission consultation

Regulation 14

Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012

Confirmation four weeks following receipt of the Plan


Confirmation that the submitted plan includes a consultation statement and meets

the criteria within the Localism Act

Regulation 15

Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012

Confirmation one week of receiving the submission documents.


Publicise the submission plan and other

relevant documentation and forward

comments received to examiner

Regulation 16

Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012

Publicise within two weeks of receiving the submission documents. Forward comments within four weeks of close of consultation


Approval of the appointment of an examiner with the Parish Council and move submission plan/order for independent examination

Regulation 17

Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012

Decision within six weeks of close of submission plan consultation


Consideration of Examiner’s Report and

provision of ‘Decision Statement’

Regulation 18

Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012

Decision Statement produced four weeks after receipt of the Examiner’s Report


Arrange Referendum

Regulation 4

Neighbourhood Planning (Referendums) Regulations 2012

Referendum to be held as soon as reasonably possible after the ‘decision statement’. The referendum should not be unduly delayed or postponed.

Make the Plan

Regulation 19/20

Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012

Decision at the first available meetings of Cabinet/ Council following a positive referendum result


Further details are available in a Planning Advisory Service document



  1. 3.    Advice and guidance


The Neighbourhood Planning team at Braintree District Council comprises:

  • Jan Cole, Neighbourhood Planning Officer (under contract from Rural Community Council of Essex), 01376 552525 ext 2559
  • Alan Massow, Senior Policy Planner

The support available from the team is set out below:


Stage of process

Support available

Initial meeting(s)


Make a presentation about neighbourhood planning;

Facilitate a community workshop to get people involved;

Provide examples of publicity materials.

Define the Neighbourhood Area

Explain the application process;

Advise on the boundaries and the suitability of the local group as a ‘qualifying body’.

Establish a steering group

Chair initial meetings of volunteers;

Advise on group structure;

Provide example terms of reference;

Provide training for group members.

Prepare a project plan

Advise on time plan and budget;

Assist with funding applications.

Community engagement

Advise on a communications strategy;

Provide example surveys;

Advise on engagement event organisation;

Facilitate community engagement events;

Advise on how to keep records of participants.

Create an evidence base

Sign post to sources of information;

Provide maps;

Advise on assessment of sites;

Provide comments on the emerging evidence base;

Advise on additional studies that may be needed;

Advise on Sustainability Appraisal;

Advise on any requirement for Environmental

   Assessment and Habitats Regulations Assessment.

Draft a vision and planning objectives

Facilitate a visioning event;

Provide example visions and planning objectives.

Prepare a draft plan

Advise on presentation and assessment of options;

Advise on creating deliverable proposals;

Advise on how to draft planning policy;

Advise on the structure of the document;

Provide comments on the emerging draft;

Advise on the preparation of the Consultation Statement.

Consult on the plan (pre submission consultation)

Advise on the statutory consultation process;

Advise on suitability of the plan in meeting the ‘basic conditions’:

Conformity of the Plan;

Suitability of the Consultation Statement;

Suitability of any Environmental Assessment or Habitats Regulations Assessment undertaken;

Conformity with other legislative requirements;

Conformity with the OS mapping requirements (including copyright issues).

Appoint examiner

Work together on the appointment of the independent examiner



BDC will not offer support/assistance with the following:-

  • Writing Documents
  • Commissioning technical studies for the Neighbourhood Development Plan
  • Undertaking primary survey work
  • Attend every meeting/consultation event organised
  • Direct financial support



  1. 4.    The role of the parish council / neighbourhood forum


In a parished area, the parish council will be the qualifying body responsible for the production of the Neighbourhood Development Plan: in an un-parished area, a neighbourhood forum will be the qualifying body.  We suggest the following:


At the start of the process
  • Arrange a meeting with an officer from the BDC Neighbourhood Planning team to discuss how we can support you.
  • Ensure your Neighbourhood Development Plan Group adopts Terms of Reference (for the steering group and for any topic related research groups) to set out how it will operate.
  • In a parished area, establish a clear reporting link between the Neighbourhood Development Plan Group and the Parish Council.
  • Share your Project Plan with the BDC Neighbourhood Planning team so we have an indicative timetable for completion of your Neighbourhood Development Plan.  It will help us to allocate support to you at the appropriate times.
As you prepare your evidence base and plan
  • Seek advice on evidence that is already available – we have a lot of information that might save you time.
  • Provide regular updates on progress to the BDC Neighbourhood Planning team, especially if it looks like the overall time plan will change.
As you are prepare to undertake your pre submission consultation
  • Provide a copy of the draft plan.
  • Provide details of any environmental assessments undertaken to date.
Submission of your final plan prior to examination
  • Provide a map or statement identifying the area to which the plan relates.
  • Provide the Consultation Statement, containing details of those consulted, how they were consulted, summaries of the main issues and concerns raised and how these have been considered (and where relevant addressed) in the proposed Neighbourhood Development Plan.
  • Provide the proposed Neighbourhood Development Plan
  • Provide a statement explaining how the Neighbourhood Development Plan meets the ‘basic conditions’
  • Provide final copies of any Environmental Statements or Assessments undertaken.
Following the successful examination;
  • Provide the Final Plan in an electronic format to the Neighbourhood Planning team
  • Provide any support documentation in an electronic format to the Neighbourhood
  • Planning team
  • Provide results of any primary source data which would be helpful to the Research