What IS NEighbourhood planning?

Neighbourhood planning is a right for communities to shape the way their local area is developed through the use of Neighbourhood Development Plans. Introduced through the Localism Act 2011, Neighbourhood Development Plans become part of the wider Local Plan and are used to determine the outcome of planning applications.

Neighbourhood Plans allow communities to have more influence and control over their local area to ensure they get the right type of development for their neighbourhood. However they cannot influence or block development set out previously by the Local Plan. Neighbourhood Plans are led and produced by an authorised local community organisation such as a parish or town council, or where one does not exist a Neighbourhood Forum may be designated.

A Neighbourhood Plan can:

  • Identify a vision for the area and set objectives for the next 5 to 20 years
  • Provide detailed planning policies setting out for example, where new development should be located and how it should be designed
  • Allocate sites for different types of development such as housing, retail and office space and designate areas of community greenspace
  • Identify key areas for improvement and set out proposals for them
  • Neighbourhood Plans will be subject to consultation, examination and a referendum, and once adopted form a part of the statutory development plan for Wigan
  • An adopted Neighbourhood Plan carries significant weight in determining development proposals for the local area, as a result, there are a number of legal requirements that the plan must meet

A Neighbourhood Plan must:

  • Have appropriate regard to national planning policy
  • Be in general conformity to the strategic policies in the Wigan Local Plan and Greater Manchester Spatial Framework
  • Contribute to the achievement of sustainable development
  • Be compatible with environmental obligations, as incorporated in UK law
  • Be compatible with human rights requirements

Neighbourhood planning

Neighbourhood planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. They are able to choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built, have their say on what those new buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided, and grant planning permission for the new buildings they want to see go ahead.
Neighbourhood planning provides a powerful set of tools for local people to plan for the types of development to meet their community’s needs and where the ambition of the neighbourhood is aligned with the strategic needs and priorities of the wider local area. WLCC (as Abram Ward Community Cooperative) developed a Neighbourhood Plan Forum for Abram Ward in 2015 and helped to establish ACT (Abram Communities Together) as the designated Neighbourhood Plan Forum for Abram ward.

For more information on Abram Wards Neighbourhood Planning... Abram Ward Together
For additional information on the wider Wigan Borough Neighbourhood Planning... Wigan Council

Neighbourhood planning in Wigan

There are currently three designated Neighbourhood Forums in the borough:

Abram Neighbourhood Plan


Standish Neighbourhood Plan


Golborne and Lowton West Neighbourhood Plan.


Who Are Abram Ward Communities Together?

Abram Communities Together was formally designated as the Neighbourhood Forum for the Abram Ward in August 2015, consisting of and made up of the five villages Abram, Bamfurlong and Bryn Gates, Bickershaw, Platt Bridge and Spring View. The Forum was originally named Abram Ward Neighbourhood Forum but has continued under the name of Abram Communities Together (ACT) since 13th April 2018. On 6th November 2020, Abram Communities Together was formally redesignated as the Neighbourhood Forum for a further five years until 6th November 2025.

Abram ward Communities Together
- Neighbourhood Plan vision

For our neighbourhood to be a great place to live and work, with the environment at its heart – making it attractive, resilient, ambitious, thriving and sustainable. To deliver our vision we have set out three key objectives to help deliver the vision:

To enhance and protect our internationally significant landscapes and green spaces Abram Ward is home to some beautiful, biodiverse habitats and countryside which need ongoing protection and enhancement. We want local people in Abram Ward, across the Wigan Borough and regionally to be able to appreciate and enjoy these internationally significant landscapes, green and open spaces more, through improved access and better connectivity between the five villages.

Upgraded access to these green spaces will provide learning and healthy outdoor leisure opportunities. We aim to support community and local businesses to find the productive potential of some of these green spaces. To retain and increase community facilities, create local employment opportunities, including community business development and encouraging local and regional tourism. We aim for Abram Ward to be an ambitious, innovative and prosperous neighbourhood, where current and new residents can access enhanced community facilities and find fulfilling and varied employment opportunities. We are keen to attract new residents, businesses and visitors into the area. We actively support the development of new local and community businesses, along with the provision of appropriate premises and work-places in our neighbourhood. We aim to encourage local and regional tourism, and ‘green’ business opportunities which will make the most of our landscapes and green spaces.

To provide affordable, energy efficient, high-quality homes for our communities of all ages
We aim for our neighbourhood to be socially inclusive and to provide homes for families, couples and single people of all ages and backgrounds, these homes will include small and large properties: apartments, houses and bungalows. We also aim for homes in Abram Ward to have a mix of tenures, from social housing, affordable rented homes, affordable homes to buy as well as larger homes to rent or buy. It is essential that new homes are built to high-quality standards with environmental sustainability and energy efficiency at the forefront.

Are you someone or have you identified someone who might benefit from becoming involved with WLCC or any of our initiatives such as Made in Wigan?

There are various ways that you can get in touch to take things forward.

It may be that you want to make contact to first find out if there really is a ‘fit’.

You may want to speak on the phone, come and visit us on behalf of someone, or maybe you’d like to bring someone along for an initial chat.

Whichever route you prefer we can accommodate.

First things first though, share some brief details and we’ll be back in touch!


    Follow us on social media...
    Facebook Logo
    Instagram Logo
    Twitter Logo
    YouTube Logo
    Wigan & Leigh Community Charity. Business Community Hub. Platt Bridge Community Zone.
    81 Ribble Road, Platt Bridge, Wigan. WN2 5EG
    made possible by the hard work and dedication of many people and among others the following organisations.