The BIMBY toolkit sets out a rigorous process for planning development at a local level and as such can be used to create local plans and neighbourhood plans.

It is designed to empower communities and give a clear process and structure by which they can work with the local planning authority, and developers where they already exist, towards a shared vision for beautiful new places and homes.

Local Plan

What is it?

Local Plans are at the heart of the local planning system. They set out a framework for the future of development in the area as a whole, but are also a critical tool for deciding individual planning applications. The Local Plan is created by the Planning Authority (the Council) and should be a starting point for Planning Committees in helping them to decide whether applications can be approved. Councils are legally required to create Local Plans.

View on

How can the BIMBY toolkit be used to create a Local Plan?

If a local plan doesn’t exist or needs updating then the Local Planning Authority can use Workshops 1 and 2 to understand the assets and needs of the communities within the local plan area and use the walkable catchment analysis to decide where the most logical and efficient place/s for new housing should be.

If an up-to-date Local Plan already exists then workshops 1 and 2 are still valid and indeed may shed light on existing allocated sites. However workshop 3 will be particularly useful in creating local housing standards. This can either be adopted at Local Plan level or the BIMBY Housing manual can be referenced in the Local Plan and adopted as policy as part of a Neighbourhood Plan. The BIMBY Housing Manual should be referenced in the Local Planning Authority’s Statement of Community Involvement (SCI), which sets out its policies on involving the community in local development documents and consulting on planning applications.

Neighbourhood Plan

What is it?

Neighbourhood Plans are community driven and created by a Neighbourhood Forum. The BIMBY toolkit is specifically designed to help communities shape new housing via the neighbourhood planning process and adopt the outcomes as planning policy. Councils make decisions on planning applications using the Neighbourhood Plan, as well as the Local Plan and any other material planning considerations, so they do hold considerable weight in the planning system. The Neighbourhood Plans should not conflict with the Local Plan so where specific sites are already allocated for housing in the Local Plan, Workshop 2 would be carried out simply to shed light on existing site allocations rather than to challenge existing site allocations. Workshops 1 and 3 empower communities to shape the form and quality of new homes via the BIMBY Housing Manual.

View on

Neighbourhood Development Order

What is it?

A Neighbourhood Development Order can be prepared by a town or parish council as well as a Neighbourhood Forum. It is the ideal next step after using the BIMBY toolkit to create a Neighbourhood Plan, as the Neighbourhood Development Order essentially gives permitted development rights on specific parcels of land as long as they are in accordance with the Local or Neighbourhood Plan, or as general housing standards that may be applied to a number of sites coming forwards.

The attraction of this approach for developers is that as long as they meet the standards set out in the BIMBY Housing Manual they know they should be able to develop land quickly knowing that it is consented in principle. It is important that this route is very carefully coordinated with the Local Planning Authority as the approach is relatively new and they may still wish to set a series of conditions on new development.

View on

Individual Planning Applications

If your BIMBY Manual is not already embedded in the planning system through any of the policy documents discussed here, you can still use it to comment on individual Planning Applications and share it with developers to help them design places that local people are likely to support. Developers care a great deal about getting planning quickly so if you have engaged them early on in their design process at outline stage they are more likely to be receptive. On large development sites you should try and work directly with developers as part of the BIMBY workshops to ensure the housing standards and designs are something they are willing to build.

Planning Applications for housing can only be made following public consultation. Your BIMBY Manual is relevant to this process and you should make sure the Planning Authority (Council) is aware of it. We suggest the following approach:

  • Liaise with the Planning Case Officer at the pre-application stage and make him/her aware of the BIMBY Manual. Once you have registered an interest, the Council will keep you informed about the Application when it is submitted.
  • Respond to an Application’s consultation exercise; attend the developer’s public exhibition.
  • Ask for a meeting with the developer and invite them to join the BIMBY group if early in the design process.
  • Approach some stakeholders such as the National Trust, Campaign to Protect Rural England and Heritage England, show them your BIMBY Manual and seek their support.
  • Seek the support of your local ward councillors and Parish Council.

Once the planning application is submitted, write a formal letter to the Planning Case Officer and send them your BIMBY Manual in full, making sure to quote the planning reference number.