United Kingdom Neighbourhood Planning Project

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A test set of designated Neighbourhood Plan areas in mid-sussex (overpass turbo showing designation=neighbourhood_plan)

The United Kingdom Neighbourhood Planning Project tested the potential for using OpenStreetMap to store and share information about Neighbourhood Plans in England. (See gov.uk information about Neighbourhood Planning)

User:Semantictourist kicked off this initiative in 2013


The initial focus was on two aspects:

1. experimenting with different methods to capture and digitise Neighbourhood Plan boundaries

2. experimenting with OSM tags as a means to uniquely identify and re-use Neighbourhood Plan data.

If it works, the hope is that the project will:

1. encourage and involve local communities, e.g. to contribute mapping about planning and the environment in their local area; and

2. enable interactive tools to be built using an OSM-based map


A test dataset was based on 18 designated Neighbourhood Plan areas in mid-sussex.

User:Semantictourist worked his way through these areas, capturing and digitising neighbourhood plan boundaries, as published by Mid Sussex District Council [1].

The boundaries for individual Neigbourhood Plan areas are defined in various ways. The three main variations in the test dataset are:

  • areas based on a full Civil Parish boundary. For these, I have re-used the polygon defined by Ordnance Survey, in its latest (May 2012) Boundary-Line product.
  • areas based on partial Civil Parish boundaries. For these, I have again used OS's polygon, then edited it to fit the boundary described in the papers published by Mid Sussex District
  • areas based on other boundaries - e.g. town councils - to be digitised based on boundaries published by Mid Sussex.

OSM tags

I have used the following OSM tag combination to uniquely identify each Neighbourhood Plan area:

These reflect the fact that Neighbourhood Plan areas are an official layer in the administrative geography (boundary=administrative), but different to other designated areas (hence designation=neighbourhood_plan). They are also typically set at a level equivalent to Parish councils (hence admin_level=10).

I have included additional tags to provide further information about each area where this is available. Individual areas can contain one or more tags from the following list:

  • idnparea
  • name
  • neighbourhood
  • sourcemapurl
  • local_authority_name
  • local_authority_code
  • qualifying_area
  • area_type
  • neighbourhood_plan_stage
  • legend
  • date_application
  • date_designation
  • area_site_url
  • local_authority_url