£23m for neighbourhood plans

Almost £23m in funding aims to give local communities more say in the development of their area.

Communities across England would receive a share of £22.8m to develop neighbourhood plans, said the government.

Housing minister Alok Sharma said the money would help determine where homes, shops, green spaces and offices should be built.

It will also help decide what they will look like, he said.

The funding– about £5.5m per year until 2022 – would provide communities with specialist support to help develop a neighbourhood plan.

The announcement follows more than 400 neighbourhood planning referendums – from Cornwall to Northumberland.

Mr Sharma said: "Neighbourhood planning gives communities a powerful set of tools to shape their area and drive local growth."

The government was committed to giving communities even more of a say in the development of their area.

"That’s why we’re dedicating around £23 million between 2018 and 2022 to help groups create Neighbourhood Plans," said Mr Sharma.

Trudi Elliott, chief executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute, said the plans could make a real difference locally.

The institute had worked directly with over 274 groups to help them develop neighbourhood plans since their inception, said Ms Elliott.

"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."

Published in February 2017, the government’s housing white paper set out measures to give local people more of a say over local development.

It also set out measures aimed at ensuring right homes are built in the right places.

The white paper committed to continue to support neighbourhood planning groups so they can access support.

Following the housing white paper, a further raft of measures to improve neighbourhood planning will be implemented later this year.

The Neighbourhood Planning Act includes new rules aimed at speeding up and strengthening the neighbourhood planning process.

It also aims to simplify how plans can be revised as local circumstances change.

Since 2012, over 2,200 groups have started the neighbourhood planning process, covering areas of nearly 12 million people across England.

Over 400 successful neighbourhood planning referendums have now taken place, with an average ‘yes’ vote of 88%.

The Neighbourhood Planning Act received Royal Assent in April 2017.

It contains measures improving the planning system to help deliver the government’s aim of making sure the housing market works for everyone.


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