Since April 2012 local communities have been able to produce Neighbourhood Plans for their local area, putting in place planning policies for the future development and growth of the neighbourhood. The plan can for instance control where new homes, shops and offices should be built, what those buildings should look like, and what infrastructure should be provided. All the policies in a Neighbourhood Plan must be consistent with the Local Plan (in our case, the District Plan by East Herts District Council). The plan can shape development but it cannot prevent development which is part of the Local Plan.
That having been said, the plan can’t create planning policies in areas that are already under the control of a higher local authority (e.g. transport policy is controlled by the County Council), BUT the output from consultations may produce an action plan that will feed into the planning process of the relevant authority.
For further information on Neighbourhood Planning in general, see the guide published by Locality at http://locality.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Quick-Guide.pdf