A Neighbourhood Plan is the most ‘local’ level of planning governance. It should be a way for parish residents to have a significant influence over the future of the landscape and buildings in their area. The Ashley Neighbourhood Plan committee are just starting out on this challenging job.
The Royal Town Planning Institute is the professional body for planners. Its website is very helpful and even includes this guidance about how students can help with neighbourhood plans (though with specific reference to planning undergraduates).
One area in which this seems to have been very successful is Leeds – read about it here.
The RTPI Planning Aid website is designed for communities in need of support with their neighbourhood plan. It is full of guidance, for example this case study which describes the progress of one parish through the process.
It also provides many documents giving support on every aspect of Neighbourhood Planning – including how to fund it – here.
Bollington Town Council are preparing their neighbourhood plan and have an excellent website here.
Several other parishes in Cheshire East are also making their plans – see this map.
Hampton-in-Arden is a parish with many similarities to Ashley: it is on the fringes of a large city conurbation, adjacent to Birmingham Airport, with motorway infrastructure and a river boundary. It is going to be traversed by HS2 phase 1. They have written their draft neighbourhood plan, which you can read here;
I will continue to add to this section as I find relevant documents. Please comment below if you would like to suggest anything.