Robert Jenrick, housing secretary

Funding almost doubled to help neighbourhood planning groups in urban and deprived areas

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick has announced that funding to help communities in urban and deprived areas plan their local neighbourhoods will almost double.

From 10th August, government grants to individual neighbourhood planning groups in both urban and deprived areas will increase to £18,000. 

This follows funding rising from £9,000 to £10,000 in May to help with the effects of coronavirus.

The funding boost aims to strengthen the voice of local communities in some of the most disadvantaged areas in England.

The government also announced it is providing these groups with access to additional technical expertise free of charge, such as for assessing their area’s housing needs, or developing masterplans.

The news follows last week’s launch of the whitepaper, Planning for the future, which intends to overhaul the outdated planning system.

“The government is overhauling the country’s outdated planning system to deliver the high-quality sustainable homes the country needs,” said Jenrick.

“Under the new system, local communities will be in the driving seat deciding what is built and where. 

“I want to ensure all communities have a strong voice in this process which is why I am doubling the funding available in some of the most deprived parts of the country to help residents in these areas shape the future of their neighbourhoods.”

Sue Baxter, chairman at the National Association of Local Councils, added that England’s local parish and town councils are at the “forefront of neighbourhood planning”.

“This additional grant funding for disadvantaged communities is particularly welcome and will provide a vital extra boost to help hundreds of areas prepare a plan.

“NALC would encourage local councils in those areas to use this additional funding to get started on neighbourhood planning to help build back better communities.

“Communities with an adopted neighbourhood plan in unparished areas are able to fast track the process to set up a local council so they can also benefit from local leadership and support the wider benefits and ambitions of neighbourhood planning.”

Tony Burton, convener of Neighbourhood Planners, London, commented that it had never been more important that communities take advantage of their right to plan their neighbourhood.

“We welcome the new and additional support to neighbourhood forums across London and other urban areas.

“This will help put local communities on the front foot in planning the future of their areas.”

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