Government almost doubles neighbourhood planning grants

Social Housing (Demo)

The government has increased the amount of funding available to help communities in urban and deprived areas plan their local neighbourhoods.

Starting today, grants for individual neighbourhood planning groups in urban and deprived areas of England will almost double to £18,000, just three months after they were last increased to £10,000 in May to help communities deal with the effects of coronavirus.

Individual planning groups will also be provided with free access to technical expertise, such as for assessing their area’s housing needs or developing masterplans.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government says the funding boost will strengthen the voice of local communities in some of the most disadvantaged areas of England.

The news follows last week’s launch of Planning for the future, the government’s proposed reforms of the planning system in England, which aim to place greater emphasis on consultation with local communities throughout the planning process.

The housing secretary Robert Jenrick said: “The government is overhauling the country’s outdated planning system to deliver the high-quality sustainable homes the country needs. Under the new system local communities will be in the driving seat deciding what is built and where.

“I want to ensure all communities have a strong voice in this process which is why I am doubling the funding available in some of the most deprived parts of the country to help residents in these areas shape the future of their neighbourhoods.”

Neighbourhood planning groups play a key role in supporting new developments by shaping the location of new homes, shops, offices, and green spaces in their local areas, thereby informing local authority planning decisions.

Areas eligible for increased grants include urban areas which do not have their own civil parish – a criterion met by most of the North’s large towns and cities.

Additional grant and technical support will also be made available for planning groups in areas which fall into the 20% most deprived areas of England according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation.

Cllr Sue Baxter, chairman of the National Association of Local Councils (NALC), said: “This additional grant funding for disadvantaged communities is particularly welcome and will provide a vital extra boost to help hundreds of areas prepare a plan.

“NALC would encourage local councils in those areas to use this additional funding to get started on neighbourhood planning to help build back better communities.”

Neighbourhood planning groups seeking extra funding and technical support can apply by visiting https://neighbourhoodplanning.org.

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