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Neighbourhood planning funding boost announced

A £7.5 million funding boost to help local authorities facilitate better neighbourhood planning in their area has been announced by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).Marking the first anniversary of councils up and down the UK being awarded new planning rights as part of the Localism Act, the government has invested a further tranche of funds into ensuring more local authorities are embracing the benefits of taking more planning decisions into their own hands.Planning minister Nick Boles said: "There is a genuine neighbourhood planning movement occurring with more than 500 communities already using these powers and many hundreds more taking steps to make use of this important new right."We've seen a great start, but I want to see many more communities making sure they make the most out of neighbourhood planning."He added the provision of this new funding will help to ensure more communities across the UK are able to effectively turn their planning dreams into reality.Councils have the opportunity to claim grants of up to £100,000 to help in the development of planning proposals to meet the needs of their community.In addition, a further £25,000 can be claimed by authorities to carry out local consultations in order to ascertain the desires of the public in terms of future facilities and developments in their area.As part of the announcement, DCLG also revealed it has published a new guide to outline the basics of the scheme, including issues surrounding community rights to bid, community shares in developments, neighbourhood planning, community right to build and rights to challenge existing proposals.Communities minister Don Foster added a "quiet revolution" has been taking place across the planning and local authority sector over the last year and the government's efforts to empower members of the public to have their say on how their area develops are starting to bear fruit."These powers are well and truly kicking in, with hundreds of communities across the country taking on local planning issues," he concluded. 

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