Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Charity issues neighbourhood planning warning

Lack of clarity and resources could be a major hurdle to the success of neighbourhood planning, the National Trust has warned.

The government’s consultation on neighbourhood planning regulations, which closed today, asks organisations what support measures should be in place to help local people plan their areas.

The National Trust has said those working on the frontrunner plans have told it that they lack the crucial professional skills that are needed to create effective plans and engage fully with the community.

The Trust, which has been vocal in opposition of some of the planning reforms proposed by the coalition government, said without financial support the government’s goal of localism will not be achieved. So far, no ongoing funding has been confirmed for neighbourhood planning.

Ben Cowell, assistant director of external affairs at the National Trust, said: ‘In principle, we welcome neighbourhood planning and its role in delivering localism, since it gives people the power to protect and enhance the places they care about. In practice, however, we foresee major problems ahead.

‘The draft regulations place a great emphasis on local authorities as the ultimate arbiters and decision makers. Yet planning services at the local level face severe cutbacks.’

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