Communities came together to discuss how new planning powers are allowing them to shape the look and feel of their neighbourhoods.
Neighbourhood Planning gives communities a real voice in deciding the look and feel of development in their area. For the first time local people have a say over the location of new homes, the shops they want to see in the high street and the design of buildings. They are also able to decide on the green spaces they want protected.
Community representatives from 23 of the frontrunner projects trialling new neighbourhood planning powers learnt from each other ways to develop plans. They were able to share experiences of best practice first hand and highlight any challenges faced and overcome as part of the process.
Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark, who joined the event to hear people’s experience of the process, said:
“This event demonstrated the real enthusiasm around the country for neighbourhood planning. People are genuinely eager to learn how to shape development in their area and bring about the homes, jobs and shops they want.
“We’ve already got 126 communities trialling powers and have had many more communities telling us they are eager to grasp this opportunity to make their own decisions on planning. There’s a real appetite to bring forward sustainable development from people who for too long have been shut out of the planning process with no real voice.”
The department’s officials were on hand to answer questions along with representatives from Locality, Planning Aid (part of the Royal Town Planning Institute), the Campaign to Protect Rural England (who were also representing the National Association of Local Councils), and the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment - the organisations that have received funding to provide practical advice on neighbourhood planning to communities.
The Localism Act will introduce powers that gives local people the power to decide the types of development that can be granted automatic planning permission, through a Neighbourhood Development Order.