An announcement by Housing and Planning Minister, Brandon Lewis, highlights that house building has been increased by 10% through new neighbourhood planning powers.
Neighbourhood plans allow communities to have a say in the future developments of their local area, including where any new homes or businesses are built, what the buildings should look like and what infrastructure is needed. From planning to the referendum stage, putting the planning power into the hands of the local people involves the whole community – bringing them together.
Earlier this year the government opened a neighbourhood planning support programme in a bid to maximise the use of the new powers. This allows local groups to apply for grants of up to £8,000 to help with writing their plans, paying for events that engage the local community, developing websites and paying for specialist planning experts. In some cases, areas may face more complex issues that make the area liable for a grant of up to £14,000.
With this support programme in place, local people are able to put together neighbourhood plans which, when approved, are taken into account alongside the council’s plan for the local area.
To this point, over 100 areas have voted in favour of neighbourhood planning referendums, resulting in more than 8 million people now being in areas covered by a plan. Most recent figures show that house building plans are above 10% higher in the areas with a neighbourhood plan than those with only the council’s plan.
The National House Building Council have said that the number of new homes that are being registered is 9% higher than a year ago. Nationally, almost 250,000 new homes have had planning permissions granted in the last year, with over 1,000,000 permissions having been granted for new homes since 2010.
When Brandon Lewis was speaking about the second reading of the Housing and Planning Bill, he said:
“Our government is continuing to hugely shift the power from Whitehall, to the town hall and its local people. More than 8 million people live in areas where they now have a say in planning the house building in their neighbourhood; and this number is increasing day by day.”
“The old planning system was broken, it pushed neighbours and developers against each other and resulted in people opposing any developments in their local area – so we’ve scrapped it. Our new neighbourhood planning referendums are showing how getting the whole community to work together is an advantage and the plans are breaking through neighbourhood oppositions.”
If you would like to read more about the introduction of the Housing and Planning Bill, we wrote an article about it last month and you can find it here
PE/BT www.propertysurveying.co.uk 06/11/15