GM Planning

a fresh approach to development planning

Quick enquiry

Neighbourhood planning

12th June, 2012

Neighbourhood Planning Takes Off

Initial concerns from some of the frontrunner projects stem from the funding arrangements, and more particularly how the £50m from central government will be distributed between the neighbourhood areas


Neighbourhood Forums will play an important role in the scheme

Neighbourhood Forums will play an important role in the scheme

Neighbourhood planning is governed by regulations that came into force on 6 April 2012. These changes mean that local communities now have greater opportunity to get involved in the planning process and shape their neighbourhoods, through the preparation of Neighbourhood Plans and Neighbourhood Development Orders.

Implementation

The neighbourhood planning process will be managed locally by parish and town councils, or by newly created Neighbourhood Forums. In the case of the latter, each forum must have at least 21 members, and demonstrate to the Local Authority that the members are representative of the community (local residents, businesses, landowners, service providers etc…).

There are currently 230 ‘frontrunner’ neighbourhood areas preparing Neighbourhood Planning Documents, all with the intention of shaping spatial development, strategic policies and future development within their communities. Importantly however, whilst communities may well be given the opportunity to be involved, there are constraints and requirements which must be adhered to, such as the need to comply with national and local policies, as well as broader EU and human rights requirements, as well as sustainable development, conservation and heritage guidance.

Funding

Initial concerns from some of the frontrunner projects stem from the funding arrangements, and more particularly how the £50m from central government will be distributed between the neighbourhood areas and the Local Authorities, which are supposed to provide guidance and advice to those involved. There are also concerns that the system will allow NIMBYs to pursue their own anti-development agendas.
That said, the early signs from those frontrunner projects furthest advanced appears largely positive, with communities welcoming the opportunity to be involved in the forward planning process.
Whilst there remain a significant number of uncertainties, mostly stemming from a lack of definitive guidance available from DCLG - which is expected later in the year - neighbourhood planning is here to stay, and therefore being aware of the process and getting involved could well be the best course of action.

Gill Makin - GM Planning