England & Wales Communities and society , Housing and planning

Where next for neighbourhood planning and management – opportunities and challenges for local government

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Summary

2014 will be a hugely important year in the evolution of neighbourhood planning and management. This briefing looks at major issues for local government that will shape this evolution, including:-

o Neighbourhood management is likely to be given new impetus with the launch of the £4.3m ‘Our Place’ programme. This builds on the lessons of the 12 neighbourhood community budget (NCB) pilots of 2011-13.

o There have now been approaching 900 applications by bodies wishing to take on neighbourhood planning powers, and over 640 neighbourhoods designated. As these work their way through formulation, submission and adoption, this will have major implications for local planning authorities and wider physical development policy and practice in local areas.

o The development of ‘community rights’ to bid, build and challenge contained within the Localism Act 2012, and how they are beginning to be used in practice

o The relationships between ‘principal’ (county, unitary, district, borough) and local (parish and town) councils in the face of government’s Council Tax freeze support grant arrangements

These initiatives have tended to develop in isolation from each other. Each have major implications, singly, for principal local authorities. Taken together they offer potential opportunities for new and deeper relations between local government and local communities. However, they may not be, of themselves, either financial or social ‘game changers’; and need to be managed intelligently and coherently by principal authorities to avoid becoming either cost pressures and/or ‘NIMBY charters’.

The briefing will be of particular interest to councillors in all tiers of council; and to Cabinet Members and policy officers concerned with neighbourhood management, planning and community budgets.

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