Rory Welcomes a Cash Boost for Communities Supporting Neighbourhood Planning

Rory has welcomed this week’s announcement by Planning Minister Greg Clark that new funding to help communities bring jobs and homes to their neighbourhood using improved planning powers is becoming available. Having helped to pioneer the Upper Eden area as a frontrunner in national neighbourhood planning policy, the local MP cited the news as a “major boon for rural communities wishing to take control of their neighbourhood’s development”.

Neighbourhood planning gives people a major say in shaping development in their area. It gives communities the power to help decide where development should go and the type and design of development that can be granted automatic planning permission. A £10 million fund is now available to help councils ensure their communities are able to finalise people’s plans for homes, businesses and facilities in their neighbourhood. More than 200 communities are already using the new planning powers introduced in the Localism Act to work up plans that can, for example, decide the location of new homes and decide the green spaces communities are keen to protect. Councils are today invited to apply for grants of up to £30,000 for each scheme to help pay for the costs of getting plans in place. Payments will be paid to councils to help them support and advise groups taking forward neighbourhood plans and to pay towards the examination of plans and a local referendum.

Rory said: “This is very welcome news, and I have no doubt that with Upper Eden blazing a trail in the field of Neighbourhood Planning – and informing government policy along the way – we have been instrumental in helping to unlock funding for this important policy area. Communities are often driven by frustration at what they see as a lack of common-sense, or by the failure of government, both national and local, to deliver; here, we are seeing here government responding directly to the needs of communities, recognising that giving the most local communities more power – to raise revenue, to take decisions – is so immensely important.”

Minister Greg Clark said: “We have seen enormous enthusiasm from communities around England, jumping at the chance to be in the driving seat of deciding the future vision of their neighbourhood. This fund will give councils and community groups working on plans a big boost in getting their vision in place as soon as possible to ensure people can enjoy the benefits sooner rather then later. Neighbourhood planning is making sure local residents are, for the first time, centre stage in helping decide their neighbourhood’s future. It is giving people the chance to plan positively and will help deliver the homes and jobs their communities need to thrive.”

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