Forum Facts

Learn more about Neighbourhood Planning

What is a Neighbourhood Forum ?
A neighbourhood forum is the body that leads on the development of a neighbourhood plan in areas such as ours that are not covered (either in part or in whole) by a town or parish council.
In January 2018 East Boldon Neighbourhood Forum was designated (i.e. recognised) by South Tyneside Council,  Details are available on the Council’s Website.

Is there a difference between the Forum and Keep Boldon Green ?
Yes, the two groups have different aims, objectives and legal standing.

A neighbourhood forum carries a different legal status and must be designated by the local authority. The Forum is not a campaign group, it is responsible for developing a local plan for the designated area. Whilst that might include discussions on housing it also includes things like green spaces, street lighting and the general look of the village.

Keep Boldon Green is a campaign group which has done an excellent job of raising concerns about possible developments in East Boldon and the surrounding areas. The group will continue to exist and campaign against developments.

Residents can be members of both organisations, being a member of one does not conflict with joining the other.

Who can join ?
Membership of a neighbourhood forum is open to all who live, work and carry out business within the neighbourhood area, as well as elected members whose ward is, either in whole or part, within the area. The Forum is not affiliated to any political party, anyone who meets the above criteria is welcome to join. The minimum age for membership is 16 years old.

Where can I see more information about the Forum and its objectives ?
We have started to develop a library of documents relevant to the forum, please follow this link to explore what we have available: Document Library
Following our consultation event held on 23 June 2018 the Forum have adopted a number of objectives which will be followed as the Neighbourhood Plan develops. These can be viewed on the About Us page. If you have any comments on the objectives please contact us.

You can see what the Forum has been up to and what has been achieved so far on the timeline.

Can you explain Neighbourhood and Local Plans ?

Local Plans are prepared by Local Planning Authorities. Succinct and up-to-date plans should provide a positive vision for the future of each area and a framework for addressing housing needs and other economic, social and environmental priorities.

South Tyneside Council is preparing a statutory Local Plan which will strategically shape development in our area in the years ahead. However, our community can have an influence on what is proposed by implementing a Neighbourhood Plan.  

But what is a Neighborhood Plan and just what can it achieve?

Neighbourhood Plans can be used to create a vision for a particular area. The plan can influence the type, design, location and mix of new development. It can address issues including road access, cycling, footpaths and access for people with disabilities. It can also be used to help promote green and open spaces

More details are available on the Locality website.

Why should we consider preparing a Neighbourhood Plan?
Neighbourhood Plans are intended to give local people a direct say in the future development of their area. A Neighbourhood Plan gives local people the chance to create a planning document that guides and shapes development in their local communities. In turn, this will help to influence what facilities are provided in the area.

Can my community have a Neighbourhood Plan?
Yes. Any community may prepare a Neighbourhood plan. Where community groups wish to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan, a Neighbourhood Forum will have to be set up and designated by the local planning authority. The boundary may be defined by the Forum, but it will need to make sense in terms of service arrangements, transport, communications and community.

Can a Neighbourhood Plan be used to block development?
No. Neighbourhood Planning is about shaping development of a local area in a positive manner. It is not a tool to be used to prevent development proposals from taking place. It should reflect local and national policies. Neighbourhood Plans are not able to promote less development than set out in the Local Plan or undermine its strategic policies. A Neighbourhood Plan can be used to ensure that any development is in line with the wishes of the local people and is sympathetic to local need.

Do we have to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan?
No. It is entirely optional.  It’s up to the local community to decide whether or not they wish to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan.

Can there be more than one Neighbourhood Plan?
No. There can only be one Neighbourhood Plan for each Neighbourhood Plan Area. It is therefore important to consider carefully what goes into it. East Boldon Neighbourhood Forum made application to South Tyneside Council and in January 2018 were formally recognised as the body which would prepare a neighbourhood plan for the East Boldon area.

Can we put anything we like in a Neighbourhood Plan?
No. There are a number of conditions that will need to be met: They must have regard to national planning policy; They must be in general conformity with the strategic policies contained in the local development plan.

How is the Forum funded ?
Until August 2018 the forum was funded entirely by the membership and from fundraising.
In August 2018 our bid for funding from Locality (https://locality.org.uk/) was successful. Further bids for funding in January and April 2019 were also successful.
The Forum has not received money from the Council or any business interest and is not affiliated to any political party.

Why do you need my help ?
The preparation of a Neighbourhood Plan is a complex task and any support you can provide is welcome.
If you are able to offer practical help in any way that would be greatly appreciated but if you would just like to show your support or be kept informed of progress you are equally welcome to contact us using the Contact Us page.

How is the Neighbourhood Plan approved ?
There are several stages to the approval of a Neighbourhood Plan and these follow a strict legal framework. 

As of October 2020 the Forum has published its Draft Plan and that is available for anyone to support / approve or comment on. The consultation is open until 7 December 2020.

Once the consultation has been completed all comments will be reviewed and where appropriate the draft plan will be amended. It will then be submitted to South Tyneside Council who will need to appoint and independent examiner who will ensure that the plan has been compiled following the proper process.

If the examiner is satisfied with the plan it will be up to the residents to approve it via a referendum (Neighbourhood Planning ( Referendum) Regulations 2012). 

When will the referendum be held and what happens next ?

The referendum will be held sometime after May 2021, it cannot be held before then due to Government restrictions imposed as a result of Covid.

The question on the ballot paper will be:

Do you want South Tyneside Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for East Boldon to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area? 

The plan will be approved if the majority of those voting vote Yes. There is no minimum number of voters required.

If the plan is approved then it must be considered by the Council when reviewing any application for development within the plan area.

What happens if the plan is rejected at referendum ?

If the plan is rejected then the Council’s Local Plan will be the only document to be considered when development proposals are made.