New section 61F: Authorisation to act in relation to neighbourhood areas
266.New section 61F (which will also apply in relation to neighbourhood development plans) sets out the circumstances in which qualifying bodies are authorised to bring forward proposals for neighbourhood development orders. In relation to any neighbourhood area (see new section 61G) which has a parish council, only a parish council (all or part of whose area is within the neighbourhood area) may make proposals for a plan or order. These proposals must be made with the consent of any other parish council for the area and proposals must be made one at a time (see new sections 61F(1), (2) and (10). In relation to neighbourhood areas without a parish council, only a person or body which has been designated as a “neighbourhood forum” for the particular neighbourhood area by the local planning authority may bring forward proposals (see new section 61F(3) to (7)). The conditions that must be met by an organisation seeking to be designated as a neighbourhood forum are set out in subsection new section 61F(5), though regulations may either add to those conditions or specify other categories of organisations that can become neighbourhood forums. Existing residents associations or civic groups may become neighbourhood forums. New section 61F(7) requires local planning authorities to have regard to the desirability of designating forums which meet certain criteria relating to the membership and purpose of the forum. New section 61F(8) empowers a local planning authority to withdraw a forum’s designation in certain circumstances.