DCLG provides funding for Neighbourhood Plans

Housing minister Alok Sharma has announced a new £22.8m package of support to provide communities with specialist support to help develop a neighbourhood plan.

Sharma said the cash boost would “support communities, help build more homes and give locals more say over growth in their area”.

The funding, which will be around £5.5m per year until 2022, builds on former housing minister Gavin Barwell’s efforts to hand more power to local people over decisions on development by bringing neighbourhood plans into play on more applications.

In any areas that have a housing supply of between three and five years, the neighbourhood plan is now integral to decisions about whether or not to allow any proposed development and Sharma expects the funding to support faster development.

Announcing the new funding Sharma said: “Neighbourhood planning gives communities a powerful set of tools to shape their area and drive local growth.

“The Government is committed to giving communities even more of a say in the development of their area, and that’s why we’re dedicating around £23m between 2018 and 2022 to help groups create Neighbourhood Plans.”

Find out more: Watch highlights of Alok Sharma’s first major address as housing minister at RESI 2017

As well as the additional funding, Sharma revealed that more than 400 successful neighbourhood planning referendums have now taken place across England.

Trudi Elliott, Royal Town Planning Institute chief executive, added: “Having worked directly with over 274 groups to help them develop neighbourhood plans since their inception, the RTPI knows how much people care about these plans and how important they are in shaping places and building public trust in the planning system.

“It’s also clear from our experience that people need support to make the plan-making experience easier and worthwhile, so this latest funding is very welcome.”

This latest measure will support a wider consultation on proposals for a new approach to assessing local housing need announced by Sharma and Communities Secretary Sajid Javid last week.

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