The first 17 communities to test neighbourhood planning, a key feature of the Localism Bill, have been named by Decentralisation Minister Greg Clark.
People in these communities - a mix of cities, urban and rural areas - will be able to decide the types of development given automatic planning permission through a Neighbourhood Development Order.
If approved by a local referendum, a council will need to adopt a neighbourhood plan providing it is line with wider ambitions for growth in their area.
Greg Clark said:" Planning has increasingly become one of the most contentious issues in Britain, with communities becoming pitted against development. By giving local people a greater say together with new incentives to share in the benefits of growth, our reforms will help to create the conditions where communities begin to welcome development rather than resist it at all costs."
The 17 neighbourhood planning front-runners will be led by local authorities who will work with community groups and parish councils to prepare draft plans and Neighbourhood Development Orders.
Each of the 17 areas will receive £20,000 towards developing their plan from a £1m fund set up to help communities eager to trial neighbourhood planning
A further 33 grants of £20,000 will also be awarded from the fund to projects that applied to be front runners. This is to help them carry forward their plans on their own.
The 17 pioneers involve the following local planning authorities and communities:
Meanwhile the Town and Country Planning Association has launched a new guide to help communities deal with neighbourhood plans. The guide ‘Your place, your plan’ is designed to help local people get involved with shaping their area through the planning process and is aimed at people with no previous knowledge of the planning system.
Hugh Ellis, TCPA chief planner, said: “All the jargon around planning can be a real turn-off. But people don’t need to learn a new language. At its heart, planning is all about creating a picture of your community’s future. This guide is all about showing how local people can really influence their area, either through the newly proposed neighbourhood plans, their local plan or other community-led vision documents.”
7 April 2011