Sunday, 29 January 2017 20:21

Keep neighbourhood plans watertight, say councils

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Keep neighbourhood plans watertight, say councils

Parish councils are urging the government to stand firm against developers who “want to ride roughshod” over the wishes of rural communities.

It comes after developers challenged a government move to strengthen neighbourhood plans in areas where the local authority does not have a five year housing land supply.

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC), which represents parish and town councils, called on government ministers to reject the challenge.

Neighbourhood plans enable local communities can shape the sort of development they want in their local area.

    See also: Successful neighbourhood planning

NALC said parish and town councils played an increasingly important role in communities – especially when it came to neighbourhood planning.

Some 90% of the 2000 communities which were developing a neighbourhood plan were led by a parish or town council, the association said.

NALC chairman Sue Baxter said: “We strongly urge the government to resist any calls from developers to water down the effectiveness of neighbourhood plans.

“Also we call on this consortium of developers to change their tack and work more closely with local councils and communities on future housing and developer needs.”

Rather than opposing development, local councils were helping communities to shake off their NIMBY critics by increasingly supporting housing and growth.

The government’s own evidence showed that neighbourhood planning increased housing numbers by around 10%, said councillor Baxter.

“Neighbourhood planning is not about NIMBYism but in fact it is the opposite allowing for more appropriate housing and development to meet community needs.”

Developers should work more closely with local councils and communities on fulfilling housing needs that was desperately needed.

Neighbourhood planning was being used by local councils to shape and influence development in their area and to increase housing and affordable housing.

It was creating more resilient communities while supporting economic development – and strengthening local democracy by encouraging people to stand in local council elections.

The process was also exciting local people and generating a huge amount of community interest, encouraging citizens to engage with often difficult local issues.

Local councils were mobilising thousands of volunteers to develop neighbourhood plans, with some 400,000 people so far voting through local referendums.


People in this conversation

  • Guest (C.P.Hassall)


    The first half of this article is fine -- stop the developers driving rough-shod over local / neibourhood plans. Meanwhile the developers are cynically exploiting the lack of 5-year housing land supply by refusing to proceed with extant consents and so leaving the way open for further applications to be permitted. They've got the planners by the balls and won't stop squeezing till we get a government that will smack them down.

    from Bideford, UK
  • Guest (Frederick. Drane)


    Im a Councillor for three Councils and I feel as we have very limited powers homes are being built where ever they want them built .facilities ,schooling,Doctors ETC are overlooked houses come first ,green fields they think are there for homes to be built on ,flooded land build on and let the developer overcome the flooding which they do not do .

    from Dorset, UK
  • Guest (Roger Daniels)


    If local councils were to have the last word on planning for housing, the current crisis of under-supply would never be resolved.

    from North Somerset, UK
  • Guest (Mervyn Jeffery)


    Developers Must NOT be allowed to develope where ever they please. There is a tendency to overdevelope in some are4as. Weak Planning committees led by weak officers are showing a tendency to allow too much in one or two places. In Shaftesbury Dorset, Where I have had some years as Town, District & latterly County Councillor far too much housing house been allowed too quickly. It has outstripped the local facilities, and the LPA does nothing to curb the excess.

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