Communities to have a bigger say in where homes are built and what they will look like

More funding is being putting into the development of neighbourhood plans in England which will give local people a say in the development of their area, including where homes, schools and businesses should be built.

A £23 million fund will give communities free access to experts advice and guidance so that they can have a fruitful say in housing, construction as well as a view on what buildings should look like and what infrastructure is needed to support them.

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

‘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,’ he explained.

Over 2,300 communities across England have 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 maximum grant available has also been increased by £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 website at www.neighbourhoodplanning.org.

Applications to bid for funding will open on 03 April 2018 and the programme is being put in place by Locality and Groundwork UK which has been appointed to oversee the fund. 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.

Their dedicated website aims to provide clear information on neighbourhood planning and signpost to highly qualified specialists from a range of organisations, including design and engineering professionals at AECOM and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Groundwork UK has been appointed to administer application process for grant funding, ensuring finance is available for groups to cover the costs associated with producing a successful neighbourhood plan.