Boles: neighbourhood planning cash to target poor areas

Financial support for neighbourhood planning could be targeted at more deprived areas in future, the planning minister Nick Boles has said.

Planning minister Nick Boles
Planning minister Nick Boles

Speaking at an event on neighbourhood planning organised by property industry lobby group the British Property Federation (BPF), Boles said that the government had so far been keen to support anyone coming forward through the neighbourhood planning process, as it was a new policy.

However, he said in future it would be more appropriate for the government to focus support on those that are not coming forward to take part in neighbourhood planning.

"I would put squarely in that bracket less prosperous areas and un-parished areas," he said.

In March, research by Planning found that town halls in England's most deprived areas are the least likely to have received applications from local groups to take on neighbourhood planning powers.

Also at the event,  Boles praised the neighbourhood planning process for engaging a high percentage of the community.

The turnout for the referendum of Thame’s neighbourhood plan, in Oxfordshire, was four percentage points higher than for the area’s local election, he said.

The neighbourhood plan referendum in Tattenhall, in Cheshire, had a turnout of over 50 per cent, he said.

"Name me a local election with a turnout of over 50 per cent. If you ask a question about something people care about, they will vote," he said.

The BPF used the event to launch a new website to support business involvement in the neighbourhood planning process.

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