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Neighbourhood forum changes afoot

Changes to the government’s plans for neighbourhood forums are being considered, decentralisation minister Greg Clark has told MPs

Clark outlined fears that councils opposed to the government’s planning reforms could derail efforts to establish the forums which are hoped to play a lead role in creating neighbourhood plans and guiding development.

‘If a neighbourhood forum has to have the involvement of an elected member, a council group that was opposed on ideological grounds to neighbourhood planning could mandate its members not to participate in neighbourhood forums and thereby effectively veto their existence,’ he said.

Clark rejected calls for a requirement that forums include local councillors. But he added: ‘I want to ensure that there is every opportunity for elected members to serve on their neighbourhood forums.’

Changes to the minimum membership numbers may also be in the offing. Forums were intended to have a minimum of three members. Clark told MPs: ‘I think three is probably too low. The right honourable gentleman and his colleagues have suggested 20. That seems a reasonable figure to consider.’

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