Friday, 06 March 2015

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.’

Readers' comments (3)

  • Rick Campbell

    Lack of clarity?

    -- lack of honesty more like with too much interference from the self-interested

    (and, for a change ... I am not referring to the government ... must be losing my touch?).

    --- Localism?

    --- about as clear as the Big Society -- but if you have a few bob or time on your hands you can do things or get things done at no expense then that's OK innit?

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  • I agree with the article.I currently work with a forerunner in Shropshire where its working out because there is such a wealth of expertise and network of professionals via the steering group because there are so many professional people resident there. I have worked previously in an urban setting in the West Midlands where it has to be local authority led with the use of consultants because the same level of education and professional networks is not present in the resident population. The process as a front runner is intense and I concur with Ben Cowell that without proper resourcing, there will be major problems.

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  • Just spotted my own typo - I meant frontrunner, not forerunner.

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