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  6. Businesses named to help trial neighbourhood plans

Businesses named to help trial neighbourhood plans

The first businesses to work with their communities to trial proposed new neighbourhood planning powers to help boost local economies have been announced by Planning Minister Greg Clark.

Eight business groups are being given the opportunity to test out the approach being proposed in the Localism Bill to develop a business-led neighbourhood plan for local business areas and town centres that benefits the whole community.

Known as Business Neighbourhood Frontrunners, they will work with local councils and community groups to prepare the planning and development framework to bring the right kind of development to their area. If these are later passed in a local referendum they will be adopted by the council.

The business groups will act as frontrunners spearheading neighbourhood plans that make it easier to change the designated use of buildings and expand facilities to meet changing needs and remove the need to apply to the council for every adaptation made to a building.

Changes to the Localism Bill will open up membership of Neighbourhood Forums – local groups that will be empowered to draw up planning documents for their communities – to companies large and small with links to the area. In predominately commercial areas, such as high streets and business parks, this will allow firms to put forward development plans, backed by their local community, for approval by the local authority.

The British Property Federation had argued in favour of the changes since the publication of the Bill.

The frontrunners are:

  • Milton Keynes Central
  • Bankside, home of the Tate Modern
  • South Bank and Waterloo
  • The West End of London, including Oxford Street and Regent Street
  • Aldershot Urban Extension
  • Liverpool Innovation Park
  • Team Valley Trading Estate, Gateshead
  • Trafford Park, Manchester.

Clark said: "We need to involve local companies more explicitly in neighbourhood planning decisions for business areas if communities are to get the most out of them. Businesses have access to skills, resources and expertise that can give a real boost to getting the right kind of growth underway in many areas. Business Neighbourhood Frontrunners are about residents and businesses shaping their neighbourhood together.”

Read the Department for Communities and Local Government news release.


Roger Milne

19 May 2011