Neighbourhood Watch: Three points the housing minister made about neighbourhood planning at the Tory conference

The housing minister Kit Malthouse spoke passionately about the importance of neighbourhood planning at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham this week. Here are three points he made about the Localism Act initiative.

PINS: Malthouse wants appeal decisions to support neighbourhood plans
PINS: Malthouse wants appeal decisions to support neighbourhood plans

1. He wants to strengthen neighbourhood planning and see as much coverage across the country as possible. Malthouse told a fringe event on housing organised by the Bright Blue think tank that neighbourhood plans provide "certainty" for both the local community and for developers, as well as giving residents a sense of control over new development in their area. He said: "What I would like to see is the promotion of that local neighbourhood plan, supported by the local borough plan, structure across as much of the country as possible. On average, they reckon neighbourhood plans produce 10 to 15 per cent more housing than is generally targeted because the local community feels planning is being done by them rather than to them. There's more we can do to reinforce and strengthen the idea of local neighbourhood planning."

2. Malthouse wants Planning Inspectorate (PINS) appeal decisions to support neighbourhood plans. He told a fringe event organised by the Planning Futures think tank: "We have to make sure that, certainly, the decisions of PINS reinforces neighbourhood planning. We can't have a situation where neighbourhood plans are constantly overriden because then people won't bother." 

3. He has concerns about the success off neighbourhood planning in urban areas, which may require consideration by the government. At a fringe event organised by the Conservative Home website and educational charity the Legatum Institute, Malthouse was asked why neighbourhood planning had been more successful in rural areas and villages. He said: "It is a problem. I was a councillor in central London, in Pimlico. My ward was not particularly big geographically. It would have been a nightmare to get a neighbourhood plan in place, largely because it had a very mobile population who weren't there most of the time. Maybe we do have to think of a different model."



Devon: Exmouth Parish Council has submitted its draft neighbourhood plan to East Devon District Council, which is inviting views on the document by 17 October.

Leicestershire: Ellistown and Battleflat Parish Council has submitted its draft neighbourhood plan to North West Leicestershire District Council, which is inviting comments by 8 November.

Staffordshire: Chapel and Hill Chorlton, Maer and Aston Parish Council is undertaking further consultation on its draft neighbourhood plan until 31 October, following changes in draft content and layout.

Warwickshire: The draft Brandon and Bretford Neighbourhood Plan, submitted to Rugby Borough Council this summer, is out for consultation until 16 October.


Merseyside: Examiner Andrew Freeman’s report on the Lydiate Neighbourhood Plan, issued to Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council on 18 September, found that it meets the basic conditions, subject to recommended modifications.


Devon: The Bere Pensinsula Neighbourhood Plan was approved by 669 voters (82 per cent), with 147 voting against, in a referendum held by West Devon Borough Council on 27 September that attracted a 32.4 per cent turnout of eligible voters.

Lincolnshire: The Hykeham Neighbourhood Plan was made part of North Kesteven District Council’s local development framework on 27 September 2018. This followed a referendum on 19 July showing 1,394 voters (87 per cent) in favour and 199 against, on a turnout of 12 per cent.

Somerset: In a referendum held by Sedgemoor District Council on 20 September, 2,658 people voted to adopt the Burnham and Highbridge Area Neighbourhood Plan while 358 opposed it, on a turnout of 17.62 per cent.

Warwickshire: The Shipston-on-Stour Neighbourhood Plan received 931 (87.33 per cent) votes in favour and 133 against in a referendum held by Stratford-on-Avon District Council on 6 September, on a turnout of 26.6 per cent.

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