A newsletter from the interim chief planner, Dr Michael Bingham, to local authority heads of planning has revealed extra funding for neighbourhood planning, focusing on communities in deprived areas.
It said: "The government has committed to providing communities in urban areas and deprived areas (places that are amongst the 20 per cent most deprived areas in England, in accordance with the Index of Multiple Deprivation) with direct additional support for neighbourhood planning".
It added that the additional support, to be launched on 10 August 2020, "will increase the grant available to neighbourhood planning groups in urban and deprived areas from £10,000 to £18,000 and give them access to a range of technical planning support packages, which only a limited range of groups currently qualify for".
For years, commentators and research has drawn attention to the fact that neighbourhood planning activity is much greater in wealthier and rural areas of England.
The newsletter also revealed that the government has also increased the value of basic grants available to neighbourhood planning groups from £9,000 to £10,000, "to reflect the additional costs communities may face in preparing and consulting on neighbourhood plans during current Covid-19 restrictions".