Decision details

Knightsford Parish designation as a neighbourhood area

Decision Maker: Officer Delegated Decision

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


That the Knightsford Parish (comprising of Tincleton, West Knighton, West Stafford and Woodsford) area be designated a neighbourhood area.


Scheme of delegation


Under the Officer Scheme of Delegation (April 2019), the Executive Director of Place has the power to ‘make a final determination as to whether to designate a neighbourhood plan area and/or make such an area a business area’.


The Local Scheme of Nomination sets out which functions have been nominated by the Executive Director of Place and any conditions or limitations. This includes the power ‘to designate neighbourhood plan areas (where the Council must exercise its powers to designate the specified area applied for as a neighbourhood plan area) and neighbourhood forums’. The only condition/limitation is that the ‘Ward members and the relevant Portfolio Holder being informed’.


Reasons for the decision:

Neighbourhood Area designation


Dorset Council has received a neighbourhood area application from Knightsford Parish Council.


The Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 (as amended) state under regulation 5A that:


(1)    …where­­─


(a)  a local planning authority receives an area application from a parish council;


(b)  the area specified in the application consists of the whole of the parish council’s area; and


(c)  if any part of the specified area is part of a neighbourhood area, none of that neighbourhood area extends outside the parish council’s area.


(2)  The local planning authority must exercise their powers under section 61G of the 1990 Act to designate the specified area as a neighbourhood area.

At the same time regulation 5A paragraph (3) outlines that under the circumstances set out in paragraph (1), above, there is no requirement for a local planning authority to consult on the proposed neighbourhood area.


These provisions are summarised in Paragraph 032 (Reference ID: 41-032-20170728) of the neighbourhood planning section of the national Planning Practice Guidance (PPG). This states:


‘Where a parish council applies for the whole of the area of the parish to be designated as a neighbourhood area, the local planning authority must designate the whole of the area applied for. This includes where a parish applies to extend its existing neighbourhood area to its parish boundary. Exceptions to this are where the area applied for:


·       has already been designated as a neighbourhood area which extends beyond the parish boundary; or


·       forms part of another application that has not yet been determined.


Knightsford Parish Council have applied to have the whole of its parish area designated as a neighbourhood area. The area specified in the application does not extend beyond Knightsford parish boundaries and does not overlap with other neighbourhood areas already designated or applied for and awaiting determination.


Regulation 5A of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations 2012 (as amended) therefore applies to the application received from Knightsford Parish Council. To this end there is no requirement to consult on the application and Dorset Council must exercise its powers under section 61G of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to designate the Knightsford Parish area as a neighbourhood area.


Alternative options considered:

Business Area


Section 61H of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended by the Localism Act 2011, requires that when designating a neighbourhood area, a local planning authority should consider whether the area concerned should be designated as a ‘business area’. If a business area is designated, local businesses would have the opportunity to be more involved in the formation of the neighbourhood plan and would get an opportunity to vote (alongside registered electors) in the later referendum on whether the neighbourhood plan should come into force. However, this section of the Act also makes it clear that a neighbourhood area should only be designated as a business area if it is ‘wholly or predominantly business in nature’.


Since the built-up areas of the Knightsford parish area are predominantly residential in nature, it is not considered appropriate to designate the proposed neighbourhood area as a business area.


Interests and Nature of Interests Declared:


Publication date: 08/07/2021

Date of decision: 08/07/2021