More communities test local powers

RURAL councils are among more than 100 communities that will trial new rights giving residents the power to shape local development.

The fifth wave of communities to use neighbourhood planning powers introduced in the Localism Act was announced on Monday (5 March).

A key part of the government's localism agenda, neighbourhood planning aims to give local people a major say in shaping development in their area.

The government says communities will be able to help determine where development should go for the first time.

Neighbourhood Development Orders will enable communities to decide the type and design of developments granted automatic planning permission.

The new wave of 108 communities joins 125 other 'frontrunner' communities that have been working up plans and testing out neighbourhood planning.

They include Faringdon (Oxfordshire), Hatherleigh (Devon), Rendlesham (Suffolk) and Morpeth (Northumberland).

A full list can be seen here. More information about neighbourhood planning is available here. The system formally commences later this year.

Unveiling the new areas, communities minister Bob Neill said there had been "enormous interest" in neighbourhood planning.

"The large number of communities jumping at the chance to trial these new powers demonstrates the enthusiasm people have for this local approach to planning."

"For the first time communities will be in the driving seat and allowed to shape the way they want their area to develop instead of having a vision imposed upon them from above.

"Neighbourhood planning encourages people to plan positively for their future and is a real opportunity to deliver the homes and jobs communities need to thrive."

The local councils of successful front runners have been given £20,000 per project to help their communities with neighbourhood planning.


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