Thank you to those who have submitted questions or points of qualification following our meeting with John Howell MP on 17th November. I have been in contact with the Department for Communities and Local Government and would like to take this opportunity to share their responses with you.
“Advice and Assistance” and Funding District Councils do not have to provide funds to neighbourhood planning bodies. The legislation states that a local planning authority must give such “advice and assistance” as they consider appropriate for facilitating the making of neighbourhood plans. It specifically states that this does not require the giving of financial assistance. The Neighbourhood Planning Bill, currently before Parliament, will require local planning authorities to publish their policies on the advice or assistance they will give to neighbourhood planning groups. More information on the role of the local planning authority is set out here: http://planningguidance.communities.gov.uk/blog/guidance/neighbourhood-planning/the-role-of-the-local-planning-authority-in-neighbourhood-planning/ There is, however, funding of up to £9,000 available for communities preparing a neighbourhood plan. Certain priority groups are also eligible for a further £6,000 and technical support. This money is provided via DCLG’s support providers Locality, and more information can be found here: http://mycommunity.org.uk/funding-options/neighbourhood-planning/
CIL monies Under the CIL rules, neighbourhoods who have a neighbourhood plan in place receive 25% of the receipts from the levy. This is compared to 15% for neighbourhoods that don’t have a plan. More broadly, the CIL monies are collected by the District Council as the “charging authority”. Charging authorities may pass money to bodies outside their area to deliver infrastructure that will benefit development of the area. For example, this could include the Environment Agency for flood defence, or the County Council for education infrastructure.
Status of the Neighbourhood Plan and the Local Plan A neighbourhood plan can be prepared in advance of a Local Plan. It is, however, vital for a neighbourhood planning body to work with the local planning authority to produce complementary plans. It is important to minimise any conflicts between policies in the neighbourhood plan and those in emerging Local Plans. The Neighbourhood plan should support the strategic development policies of the Local Plan. It is worth re-iterating that the key point is that having a Neighbourhood Plan gives communities protection of character and choice going forward. It is the District Council that has responsibility for the housing numbers, with neighbourhood plans giving a greater say over where these numbers might go, or what they may look like. It is vital that a Neighbourhood Plan dovetails with the Local Plan.
I hope this information is useful in providing some clarity. As ever, if there are further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Sam Gyimah MP