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Government support for neighbourhood planning

Monday 26 March 2018

Communities across England are to have a bigger say on neighbourhood development plans, as the Government announces measures to help support locals with access to free advice services.

A new £23 million fund will give communities free access to expert advice and guidance so that they can have an effective input on developments in their local area, including where homes, schools and businesses should be built, how they should look and what infrastructure is needed to support them.

Housing Minister Dominic Raab MP said that community groups will be able to access a range of free help including financial support and the latest planning expertise from trained professionals, to guide them through the process of preparing a neighbourhood plan.

He said: “Neighbourhood plans are a powerful tool to help communities shape their local area, making sure the right homes are built in the right places. It’s vital that communities have the right support and advice available to help deliver a plan that meets their own ambitious aspirations. That’s why I’m making £23 million available that will help more groups to do this.”

Over 2,300 communities across England have already started the process of neighbourhood planning, with 530 plans approved in local referendums. Previous government support has helped around seven out of 10 of these communities progress their plans, with 365 neighbourhood plans finalised using support provided by the government.

The Minister also announced and increase in the maximum grant available by a further £2,000 to £17,000, helping communities to access more resources to develop a plan for their area and groups can find our more information about how to apply for funding via a new neighbourhood planning website.

Applications to bid for funding will open on 3 April 2018, with Locality and Groundwork UK appointed to oversee the fund and procurement process. Locality will use its expertise, skills and track record advising on development to help communities to reach the full potential of their neighbourhood plan from start to finish, with Groundwork UK responsible for administering the application process for grant funding, ensuring finance is available for groups to cover the costs associated with producing a successful neighbourhood plan.