Get involved and have your say over the future of your neighbourhood
by Paul Dixon, Rural Evidence Manager

Residents across the country will be encouraged to have a greater say over how their neighbourhood is developed, thanks to a new campaign launched this week.

Already, more than 2,000 areas representing more than 10 million people are developing neighbourhood plans, setting out the developments they would like to see in their area. Figures show when residents are involved in deciding where houses will be built – through neighbourhood plans – housing numbers increase by up to 10% as opposed to local plans alone.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said: “Our planning reforms have put local people at the heart of the system, ending the age-old battle between residents and builders and instead ensuring communities get a say over how their area is developed – and leading to record high numbers of homes being approved. “More and more people are getting involved in neighbourhood planning, to state clearly and in black and white the developments they want to see happen in their area – not just for their benefit, but for the benefit of future generations. “This new campaign will encourage even more communities to follow in their footsteps.”

Communities Secretary Greg Clark said: “As we shift more power from Whitehall to town halls and local people, it makes perfect sense to ensure communities have their voice heard as those who know their areas best. “Neighbourhood plans bring people together put pen to paper and make clear what development they want to see.

“Already more than 2,000 areas representing more than 10million people are developing neighbourhood plans: this new campaign will encourage more communities to do the same.”

Getting involved in neighbourhood planning Significant planning reforms have already shifted power away from Whitehall and to local councils and residents through local and neighbourhood plans, as part of wider efforts to deliver one million homes and support aspiring homeowners to achieve their dream.

Steps have already been taken to make it even easier for local people to get involved in neighbourhood planning. These include:

  • The recent Housing and Planning Act, which streamlines and simplifies the process for getting a neighbourhood plan in place;
  • The neighbourhood planning support programme, which enables community groups to apply for grants of up to £9,000 – or up to £15,000 in areas with more complex needs – to acquire specialist planning expertise, develop websites and fund events to engage a wider number of residents; and
  • The forthcoming Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech, which will empower local communities making it easier for communities to revise and update their neighbourhood plans so they remain current and most accurately reflect local views.

This week’s campaign will include posters in local press and on billboards, as well as details of how to go on local radio programmes, in areas across the country. Anyone wanting to get involved in neighbourhood planning will be able to find out more by visiting www.neighbourhoodplanning.org.

For more information on the work of ACRE and the support available from our network take a look at our neighbourhood planning page