eden’s success convinces government to put more funding behind neighbourhood plans

Following the successful referendum in Upper Eden to create the countries first neighbourhood plan, the government has now announced a further 9.5 million pounds of funding for communities who would like to follow Upper Eden’s example. This is a key victory for Rory who, as chair of the APPG for Local Democracy, led a parliamentary ‘What’s next for localism?’ enquiry, one of whose key recommendations was creating such a government plan.

The fund will allow communities up and down the country to bring together plans to take control of their own local planning regulations and then present those plans to a local referendum. If successful in the referendum, the communities’ plans will take precedence over previous council planning regulations. The government fund, which can be accessed through the DCLG, will allow local communities to bid for up to £7000 of grant payments which are designed to help meet the initial costs of preparing a proposal. Communities will have a single entry point to the programme through the website www.mycommunityrights.org.uk, where they will also find direct support and advice tailored to the needs of their neighbourhood specifically.

John Findlay, The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) chief executive said:
“We welcome that the Government continues to see the importance of neighbourhood planning for local councils and communities. Neighbourhood planning goes to the heart of localism in action, where we see local people take control over their environment. Our partnership with CPRE has been very productive. It has provided an innovative package of support to local councils, based on a blend of professional planning advice and practical methods. This is stimulating informed self-help on the part of our local councils. We hope the new contract will retain this philosophy, which is central to effective neighbourhood planning. Our county associations have played an important role in the programme working with CPRE’s local branches and we’ve appreciated their help and support.”

Rory said: ‘I’m really proud that Cumbria was not just the first in the country on this project but is now the beginning of a really truly national movement. It is great to see the government putting money behind this initiative. I’d love as many Cumbrian communities as possible to come forward and would like to fight for them to get plans approved just in the way that we did with Upper Eden.’

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