Communities were urged to make full use of their rights and join the hundreds of groups now working up plans that will set out the future vision for their neighbourhood, Planning Minister Nick Boles said today (28 November 2013).
A new landmark has been reached with more than 800 communities now working on getting a neighbourhood plan in place.
Neighbourhood planning is one of the new community rights introduced by government to give people more say over their area and puts communities in charge of setting out the homes, shops and amenities they want in their neighbourhood.
55% of local authorities have neighbourhood plans being worked up and have received an application for an area to be designated, with 43 of these authorities having at least 6 plans in progress.
The plans are already providing benefits with:
people living and working in 5 areas around the country having already taken to the polls and voted on a neighbourhood plan produced by local people for local people
in Thame, Oxfordshire - one of the 5 areas with a fully formed plan in place and the first to earmark specific sites for homes - outline planning permission was recently granted for 175 of the 775 homes proposed
businesses keen to get involved in neighbourhood planning now have a dedicated website that provides advice and resources for firms looking to work with communities on new opportunities to grow
Nick Boles said:
Neighbourhood planning is proving to be incredibly popular with communities around the country and has enormous potential to deliver homes and jobs.
There are now hundreds of neighbourhoods that will benefit from having a plan in place and I want to see many more enjoy the opportunities these bring to deliver local people’s vision for their area.
Neighbourhood plans are now in place in: Upper Eden, Cumbria; Thame, Oxfordshire and Exeter St James, Devon. Neighbourhood plans have passed referendum in Tattenhall, Cheshire and Lynton and Lynmouth, Devon.
The voter turnout across these 5 areas was on average higher then the 2012 local election average at nearly 33%. In Tattenhall voter turnout was 52%.
Neighbourhood planning is also beginning to take off in our cities. Places such as Holbeck and Beeston in Leeds, Spring Boroughs and the Blackthorn and Goldings estate in Northampton, Inner East Preston, Somers Town near Kings Cross and a number of communities across Bristol are all making progress towards neighbourhood plans that will help revitalize these areas.
Neighbourhood planning ends the planning resentment that stops the homes, businesses and facilities people want being built by replacing top down regional planning.
It gives communities a new role and strong voice in local planning with the plans having a real statutory weight in the planning system.
In addition to deciding the future of their area, local people will benefit from development in their area, especially if they have a plan. Areas with a neighbourhood plan will receive 25% of community infrastructure levy revenues to spend on projects important to them. There is no upper limit to how much they will receive, as opposed to areas without a plan, who will receive 15%, with a cap.
The British Property Federation has set up a website that provides a bank of information to help businesses get more involved in neighbourhood planning.
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. This data was gathered by the informal monitoring of local authority websites.