Government considers handing planning cash to communities

The government is considering providing direct funding for communities to undertake neighbourhood planning, a Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) official told a London conference today.

Neighbourhood planning: key plank of localist agenda
Neighbourhood planning: key plank of localist agenda
Responding to questions about funding for neighbourhood planning at an Action for Market Towns symposium, Gareth Bradford of DCLG's planning division pointed to a provision in the Localism Bill that would allow the secretary of state to provide support or funding directly to communities.

Pressed on whether this meant that funding would be forthcoming, he said that ministers "were certainly thinking of considering the option" of providing funds.

Under neighbourhood planning, a key plank of the government’s Localism Bill, local groups will be able to draw up neighbourhood plans, subject to a referendum, to set out the kind of development they want to prioritise.

More than 100 areas have been selected to take part in the DCLG's neighbourhood planning frontrunner scheme. Under the scheme, each frontrunner area’s local authority is given £20,000 to support work on neighbourhood planning.

But campaigners have urged neighbourhood planning frontrunner funding to be awarded directly to communities because, they argue, some councils may not take the initiative on neighbourhood planning.

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