Neighbourhood Plan Watch: Bracknell set to become the largest town with a neighbourhood plan

The launch of a consultation on the Bracknell neighbourhood plan means the town is set to become the largest council area in England to be covered by a community-made development blueprint.

Bracknell town centre. Pic: Joe Dorward
Bracknell town centre. Pic: Joe Dorward

The draft plan for the Berkshire town was published on 7 January, and consultation on the document, which began last month, runs up to 18 February.

Bracknell Town Council is the qualifying body producing the plan and its population of 52,696 at the last census means that it is the largest town council currently working on a neighbourhood plan, according to research by Planning.

The Bracknell Town Neighbourhood Plan does not allocate any sites for housing, but includes policies on infill and backland housing development, managing the streetscape and good quality design.

It also proposes to resist new proposals for changes of use to houses in multiple occupation unless they meet certain criteria including on amenity and impact on character of the area.

Whilst there are six town councils across England with a larger population than Bracknell, none have a designated neighbourhood area.

Among England's largest 15 town councils, a further three have designated neighbourhood areas but have yet to publish a draft plan.

Meanwhile, just one - Farnham in Surrey - has a ‘made’ neighbourhood plan, which was adopted by Waverley District Council in July 2017. The plan allocates land for 784 homes and is currently the largest town council area to have a neighbourhood plan.

Other notable neighbourhood plans produced by town councils include Winsford in Cheshire, which was one of the earliest plans to be produced and was  approved by in a referendum in October 2014. It allocates 3,362 homes and 35 hectares of employment land on 24 sites across the town up to 2030.

Newport Pagnell Town Council's neighbourhood plan allocates 1,400 new homes in the town by 2031 – more than three times as many as that designated in the Milton Keynes core strategy. The plan was endorsed in a referendum in May 2016.  

Table: England's largest town councils working on neighbourhood plans

Town council

Population (at 2011 Census)

Local planning authority

Neighbourhood plan status



Bracknell Forest

Draft plan published January 2019

Royal Leamington Spa



Neighbourhood area designated




Neighbourhood area designated




Neighbourhood plan made July 2017



Test Valley

Neighbourhood area designated

Source: Planning research including analysis of 2011 Census data



Essex: The Thaxted Neighbourhood Plan in Uttlesford District was approved by 861 voters to 35 on a 35 per cent turnout in a referendum on 24 January.

Worcestershire: The Alvechurch Neighbourhood Plan in Bromsgrove District was approved by 1,575 voters (97 per cent) in a referendum on 10 January, on a turnout of 37 per cent.

Lincolnshire: The Cherry Willingham Neighbourhood Plan in West Lindsey District was approved by 517 voters (84 per cent) in a referendum on 17 January, on a turnout of 19 per cent.

Cornwall: The Polperro and Lansallos Neighbourhood Plan in Cornwall was approved by 287 voters (91 per cent) in a referendum on 24 January, on a turnout of 24 per cent.

Cornwall: The Lanlivery Neighbourhood Plan in Cornwall was approved by 96 voters (81 per cent) in a referendum on 24 January, on a turnout of 27 per cent.


Cheshire: The examiner’s report on the draft Knutsford Neighbourhood Plan was published on 18 January. Examiner Andy Mead concludes that the draft plan, with modifications, meets the basic conditions and can proceed to a referendum.


Cornwall: The St Stephens by Launceston draft plan is out for consultation, which runs until 13 March 2019.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Join the conversation with PlanningResource on social media

Follow Us:
Planning Jobs