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Neighbourhood plans net £9.5m boost

The government has announced a £9.5 million funding boost to help communities create neighbourhood plans

Under the scheme, announced by communities minister Don Foster last week (14 March), communities will be able to bid for a £7,000 contribution to the cost of preparing their plans.

Introduced as part of the Localism Act in 2011, neighbourhood plans are intended to give local communities more control over development taking place in their area.

The cash injection comes as the very first neighbourhood plan was rubber stamped in Upper Eden in Cumbria, last week. The local plan, drawn up by residents allows for more affordable homes to be created in the area through conversions and development on existing farms.

Communities minister, Don Foster, said: ‘We’ve already seen overwhelming support for the first neighbourhood plan in Upper Eden and there is real appetite in hundreds of communities across the country to follow suit. This funding will provide practical help to people to make neighbourhood plans a reality in their community.’

Peter Geraghty, president of the Royal Town Planning Institute, said: ‘Neighbourhood plans are a new right for communities to decide the future of the places where they live and work. It allows them to choose where they want new development such as homes, shops and offices to be built. They can have their say on what those new buildings should look like and what facilities should be provided. They can also grant planning permission for the new buildings they want to see go ahead.’

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