Step 1. March 2013
The local authority designated a Neighbourhood Plan Area - in our case, the Civil Parish of Shepton Mallet - and a Steering Group is formed, approved and supported by the Town Council.
Step 2. May 2013 onwards
The Steering Group, made up of local people, undertake an extensive consultation with Businesses, Residents, Community Groups, and others to develop a vision and objectives for the plan.
Step 3. September 2014 onwards
With the help of professional consultants, the Steering Group turn their findings into a set of policies, and develop a set of documents that support and inform their emerging plan.
The Steering Group continue to consult locally as they develop the detail of their plan into a proposal.
Step 5. November 2022
The Steering Group put their proposed plan to the Town Council, asking for approval of the plan to go to a formal, legal consultation known as Regulation 14 consultatiion. The Town Council formally agreed to allow the draft Neighbourhood Plan to proceed to Regulation 14
Step 6. January - May 2023
The Steering Group prepare the plan for Regulation 14 Consultation, where the plan is formally consulted on. The consultees are the local community living in the Neighbourhood Plan Area, the Local Authority (Mendip), surrounding parishes, key stakeholders and statutory consultees.
Step 7. Later in 2023
The Steering Group consider each and every response to the Regulation 14 Consultation, and where appropriate and possible, changes will be made to the Plan to reflect the comments received through Regulation 14 consultation.
The Plan is sent to an independent examiner, who may require the Steering Group to make changes, or approve the plan, following which he or she will pass the plan to proceed to referendum
Once the plan has passed examination, it is put to the town in the form of a referendum. Each person on the electoral roll for Shepton Mallet will be entitled to vote, and for the neighbourhood plan to be adopted it needs to receive a simple majority of one vote; there is no minimum turnout for the referendum.
If the plan receives a majority in the referendum, it becomes a legal document that helps shape planning decisions for the future.
But this isn't the end of the process. Once the plan is 'made', it is regularly reviewed and updated to keep it up to date and relevant, so that it will continue to be a living breathing document that represents the town and supports its aspirations for the future