£7.5 million funding boost will help councils support neighbourhood plans around the country.
With over 500 areas already developing neighbourhood plans, communities across the country are to benefit from a £7.5 million funding boost to follow suit and take centre stage in planning the homes and businesses they want in their area, Planning Minister Nick Boles announced today (26 September 2013).
As new community rights mark their 1 year anniversary, councils around the country can claim up to £100,000 a year to help their communities start a neighbourhood plan, with an additional £25,000 for plans that pass a successful examination. Neighbourhood planning gives people a major say in shaping development in their area and allows them to decide where development should go. It allows people to plan for the type of houses, businesses and green spaces they want in their area to help it thrive.
Councils can also claim up to £25,000 in grants to help communities establish the forums that drive forward neighbourhood plans in areas with no parish council – the body usually used for spearheading plans. Planning Minister Nick Boles said:
“There is a genuine neighbourhood planning movement occurring with more than 500 communities already using these powers and many hundreds more taking steps to make use of this important new right. We’ve seen a great start but I want to see many more communities making sure they make the most out of neighbourhood planning. This funding will help councils support plans around the country and help turn communities’ aspirations for their area into reality.”
The Localism Act has given communities unprecedented powers over their lives, neighbourhoods, towns and cities. All local planning authorities – in practice usually district and borough councils – will be eligible for the funding to support new neighbourhood plans and forums. A quick and simple guide to all community rights introduced in the Act was published today that explains how people can make the most of these. It includes details of all of the rights including the Community Right to Bid, Neighbourhood Planning, Community Right to Build, Community Shares and the Community Right to Challenge.
Speaking in Uttlesford, Essex which has 2 designated neighbourhood plans and more than 170 community assets listed Communities Minister Don Foster said:
“A year ago we said we were starting a quiet revolution, giving powers to local people to decide how to run things in their community rather than by the top-down Whitehall diktats of the past. A year later these powers are well and truly kicking in, with hundreds of communities across the country taking on local planning issues, providing their own services and protecting treasured local assets.”
In addition to the neighbourhood planning funding, 40 champions were announced who will spread the word about neighbourhood planning and help other communities looking to learn how best to get a plan underway swiftly. The champions were nominated by the first local authorities to have designated neighbourhood planning areas. They include council leaders, planning officers and people leading their community’s plan.
- Local planning authorities are able to claim for up to 20 area designations (£100,000) in each financial year 2013 to 2014 and 2014 to 2015.
- Local planning authorites can also claim for up to 5 forum designations (£25,000) in each financial year. Communities can establish a neighbourhood forum to take forward neighbourhood planning in areas where there is no parish council. A forum must meet certain requirements, such as a minimum of 21 members who are representative of residents, businesses and elected members in the community.
- This money recognises the duties that local authorities have in relation to neighbourhood planning. These are to: provide advice and assistance; to hold an examination; and to make arrangements for a referendum.
- Separate support is available for communities. They can apply for direct support and/or grants of up to £7,000 to help them develop a neighbourhood plan. For more information about this, and neighbourhood planning in general, visit the My Community Rights website.
- The You’ve got the power guide to community rights summarises the range of community right opportunities available to communities.
- Follow Community Rights on Pinterest
- Below is a list of the Neighbourhood Planning champions and their areas.