Government to encourage neighbourhood planning
The government has invested £23 million into encouraging local people to take more of an interest in neighbourhood planning.Ministers want residents to put forward and vote on proposals for upcoming developments in their area and where they should be positioned.This forms part of the current government's initiative to afford more power to local people by enabling them to take the lead.Neighbourhood plans can be drawn up, which can be used in determining planning applications, while individuals can also put forward neighbourhood development orders that will allow planning permission to be given. Around 1,200 communities across the country have started this process - and 33 plans and one order have been approved in local referendums. Upwards of 700 groups have received support from the government in helping their ideas and plans come to life.The government wants communities to discuss how neighbourhood planning could be of use in tackling local issues. Housing minister Brandon Lewis said: "This government is giving local people a real say in shaping what gets built where in their local area, and encouraging much needed new house building."The government will put an additional £1 million forward for grants, and communities can apply for up to £7,000 of money towards their projects. In addition, £100,000 will be available to allow groups to put on workshops to inform local people on how they can get involved and inspire them into action. A dedicated phone line and guidance from planning experts is currently at the disposal of communities who need it. Minister for communities Stephen Williams said: "Whether it’s allowing people to list a treasured local asset against sell off, encouraging share offers to buy the local pub or getting people together to decide what should be built where, this coalition government is shifting power back locally."
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