The claim was made on the same day that the government introduced regulations confirming when two recent neighbourhood planning provisions will come into force.

An announcement from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) endure week said 200 neighbourhoods in England had now voted in favour of neighbourhood plans being used to guide planning decisions in their areas.

The DCLG said more than another 1,900 communities in the state were in the process of putting together a neighbourhood plan.

According to the announcement: “Early figures indicate that plans for housebuilding are more than 10% higher in areas that possess a neighbourhood plan than in the council’s local plan.”

Regulations (8-leaf / 54 KB PDF) made on the same day confirmed that two neighbourhood planning provisions in the Housing and Planning Act will come into force on 1 October.

From this date a parish council or neighbourhood forum will be competent to question the communities secretary to intervene in the decision whether to grasp a referendum on a neighbourhood plan or neighbourhood development order, in certain circumstances. These circumstances include where councils fail to construct a timely decision on whether to grasp a referendum, or where they depart against an examining inspector’s recommendation.

A neighbourhood planning forum will also be competent to question the relevant local planning authority to notify it of planning applications in its area.

Planning expert Jamie Lockerbie of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, said: “It is easy to see how neighbourhood plans may be planning for more homes than their respective local plans. It is now a well-established principle in case law that a neighbourhood plan can construct site allocations. A neighbourhood plan cannot plan for less development than set out in the local plan but it can allocate more provided this is supported by proper evidence.”

“A neighbourhood plan that plans for more development than the local plan requires could be seen as sensible future-proofing and should reduce the potential require for plan reviews in the future,” he said.