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Mapping for Neighbourhood Planning

Mapping for Neighbourhood Planning

Mapping is an essential tool for parishes wishing to do neighbourhood planning. It can act as an invaluable visual aid, helping to clarify to members of the community and statutory bodies what you are seeking to change or deliver.

Applications for the designation of a neighbourhood area

Applications for the designation of a neighbourhood area need to be accompanied by a map. The map should show the outline of the proposed neighbourhood area.

Where the proposed area includes two Local Planning Authorities, i.e. comprises an area both inside and outside the National Park, the National Park boundary should be shown. For more information about neighbourhood area applications visit the Neighbourhood Area page of our website.

Using mapping during the neighbourhood planning process

Maps are often used during the neighbourhood planning process for:

  • Understanding existing planning designations or constraints relevant to your neighbourhood area (e.g. designated conservation areas or settlement boundary and areas identified as being at risk of flooding).
  • Conveying information quickly and to ensure that individual proposals and policy designations can be fully grasped.
  • To support individual pieces of evidence, such as a Housing Land Availability Assessments or Village Design Statements.
  • Any proposed land allocations will need to be mapped, including rural exception sites and other areas where the community wish to promote or restrict development.

Public Sector Mapping Agreement

All public sector organisations, including Parish and Town Councils in England and Wales, have access to Ordnance Survey mapping data under a single agreement known as the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA). This commenced on 1 April 2011 and gives access to the Ordnance Survey’s core geographic datasets free at the point of use. Within the National Park, a number of Parish and Town Councils have already signed up and we would encourage others to join.

PSMA members are able to access datasets including (as of July 2012):

  • 1:25,000 Scale Colour Raster
  • 1:50,000 Scale Colour Raster
  • OS Master Map Topography Layer (1:1,250 to 1:10,000)
  • OS Vector Map Local (1:3 000 to 1:20 000)

Where Parish and Town Councils have become PSMA members, they have to abide by the licensee terms. Maps published in the public domain should include a background watermark with the parish council’s name or logo (identifying them as the licensee) and a disclaimer. More information can be found on the Ordnance Survey website.

Geographical Information Systems

A Geographic Information System (GIS) captures, stores, manipulates and analyses geographical data on a computer to inform decision making. There are a number of free GIS that can be found and downloaded from the internet. These free packages can provide access to both mapping and aerial photography for your parish, which can be marked-up, annotated and then published.

Support from National Park Authority

We can provide help and advice on mapping, however we have very limited in-house resources. Neighbourhood planning provides a good opportunity for communities to start building up their own mapping resource which may have multiple applications. For further information, please contact neighbourhood@southdowns.gov.uk.


"The Downs...too much for one pair of eyes, enough to float a whole population in happiness."