Government funds neighbourhood planning

The Government is to make £22.8 million available to assist in the making of neighbourhood plans.

Housing Minister Alok Sharma has confirmed the cash boost and hopes it will help build more homes, and give locals more say over growth in their area.

The funding, which will be around £5.5 million per year until 2022, will provide communities with specialist support to help develop a Neighbourhood Plan.

Neighbourhood Plans help local communities have a greater say in the development of their area including where homes, shops, green spaces and offices should be built and how they should look. They have also been criticised as ‘nimbys charters’, helping people stop development of urgently needed new homes.

The announcement comes as more than 400 successful neighbourhood planning referendums have now taken place across England.

Housing and Planning Minister Alok Sharma said: “Neighbourhood planning gives communities a powerful set of tools to shape their area and drive local growth.

“The government is committed to giving communities even more of a say in the development of their area, and that’s why we’re dedicating around £23 million between 2018 and 2022 to help groups create Neighbourhood Plans.”

Trudi Elliott, Royal Town Planning Institute Chief Executive, said: “Having worked directly with over 274 groups to help them develop neighbourhood plans since their inception, the RTPI knows how much people care about these plans and how important they are in shaping places and building public trust in the planning system.

“It’s also clear from our experience that people need support to make the plan-making experience easier and worthwhile, so this latest funding is very welcome.”

The government’s housing white paper published in February 2017 set out measures to give local people more of a say over development in their area and build the right homes in the right places.

The white paper committed to continue to support neighbourhood planning groups so they can access essential support to allocate sites for housing and to plan for better designs in their area.

Following the housing white paper, a further raft of measures to improve neighbourhood planning will be implemented later this year, as the Neighbourhood Planning Act comes into effect. This includes new rules to speed up and strengthen the neighbourhood planning process by simplifying how plans can be revised as local circumstances change.

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