Neighbourhood plans and how they affect your property

21 April 2017

Posted in: Town planning

The neighbourhood planning process is a way for people within a community to develop a shared vision on the things that affect the local area or “neighbourhood”. It is an invitation from council to have a say on the future of the places where you live and work. A neighbourhood plan assists with managing change, accommodating growth, and protecting valued environments at a local level. All development is directed by plans and/or policies that show or guide where new development can go and what can, and cannot, be built.

Neighbourhood plans are created by councils, with input from residents and business owners. They guide development in an area and sit within a council's planning scheme. However, not all communities have a neighbourhood plan. Council decides what areas need a plan. To see if your property is covered by a neighbourhood plan go to your local council’s website to check.

Giving local communities greater ownership and involvement over plans, helps to unify the community. Having your say, in areas of local environment, social and economic factors, along with the management of population growth, can protect character development, provide for open space, include standards for new development, and reflect improved infrastructure in local and surrounding areas. By inviting the community to partake in the planning process, it helps to provide validation and positive grassroots support. A wide source of information is available and gives residents a better understanding of issues behind the decision making process. As well as allowing communities to have an insight into the related constraints or opportunities that exist within an area.

If your community is getting a neighbourhood plan, or council are amending one, you should consider:

  • What’s important to you and your goals for your property
  • Your opinions on the issues facing your local area
  • Your thoughts on growth and change in your neighbourhood and across the city
  • How you feel about specific plans and projects that council has in mind for the area
  • The services that you want in your community.

Once neighbourhood plans are submitted to council, they cannot be changed without first consulting with the community. Residents can have a say on proposed development by attending workshops, making a submission to council, or by being part of a community planning team.

Once ideas are gathered, a town planner will be assigned to analyse the information, combine it with technical research and a draft plan is made. Residents and businesses can then view the draft plan when it is released for consultation, which is for a limited time.  Any comments or questions need to be made during this time to have maximum impact. However, this will only be taken into consideration if a formal submission is submitted within the specified timeframe.  Council is then legally required to report what submissions were made and how they were dealt with. After the display period, there are no more formal opportunities to influence the plan, unless it is reviewed or amended at a later date. Any proposed changes to a neighbourhood plan have to be weighed up by council, together with the local community. If you live, work, visit or own property, you can have your say on ‘neighbourhood planning’.

More often than not, if your property is in an established area it will be subject to an existing neighbourhood plan. This can have an impact on any future development you may have planned now or down the track.

If you’re considering a property purchase, or development at an existing property, get in touch to discuss how the local neighbourhood might affect you as well as what other constraints and opportunities may be applicable. Get a free desktop review of your site by calling 1300 017 540 or sending an email to

Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to provide accurate information, Consult Planning does not guarantee that this blog article is free from errors or omissions or is suitable for your intended use.