This one will probably bring a sinking feeling to some council planning policy departments, because it does require the commitment of resources. Therefore, the more neighbourhood plans you have in a given local plan area, the more challenging it can be for the LPA.
Housing minister Dominic Raab has announced that communities across England will be able to get free access to expert advice and guidance to help make their neighbourhood vision a reality.
The free help will include financial support and the latest planning expertise from trained professionals, to guide them through the process of preparing a neighbourhood plan.
Some 2,300 communities across England have started the process of neighbourhood planning, with 530 plans approved in local referendums.
These plans will give local people a say in the development of their area, including where homes, schools and businesses should be built, and the infrastructure needed to support them.
Raab said: “Neighbourhood plans are a powerful tool to help communities shape their local area, making sure the right homes are built in the right places. It’s vital that communities have the right support and advice available to help deliver a plan that meets their own ambitious aspirations.”
Previous government support has helped around seven out of 10 of these communities progress their plans, with 365 neighbourhood plans finalised using support provided by the government.
The maximum grant available has been increased by £2,000 to £17,000, helping communities to access more resources to develop a plan for their area.
Community groups can find out more information about how to apply for funding on the neighbourhood planning website.
20 March 2018
Prithvi Pandya, The Planner