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The Government's Localism Bill received royal assent on 15 November 2011 making it an Act. The Localism Act introduces Neighbourhood Plans and Neighbourhood Development Orders. The concept is that the community will welcome additional development if they have more say in its form and location.
Parish Councils or other neighbourhood organisations, in line with regulations set by the Government, would prepare Neighbourhood Plans and Neighbourhood Development Orders. Neighbourhood Plans would need to be in conformity with the Development Plan for the area and national policy.
Neighbourhood Development Orders would permit certain types of development without planning permission being required. The Department of Communities and Local Government has published a guide to Neighbourhood Planning on its website.