Neighbourhood Plans boosting housebuilding by 10%, says minister

Neighbourhood Plans have led to a more than 10 per cent increase in housebuilding plans, housing minister Brandon Lewis has said.

Speaking about the second reading of the Housing & Planning Bill, the Great Yarmouth MP said that the plans are part of a "huge shift" in power from Whitehall to local people, allowing them to decide on the future development of their area, including where new homes and business should be built, what they should look like and what local infrastructure is needed.

So far, every one of more than 100 Neighbourhood Plans submitted to local referendums have been approved and around eight million people now live in places covered by neighbourhood planning. Once approved, councils are required to consider Neighbourhood Plans as part of the process for drawing up their Local Plan.

Lewis said that according to the latest figures, planned housebuilding in the first areas to adopt their Neighbourhood Plan is more than 10 per cent higher than the council's Local Plan.

"We are scrapping the broken old planning system that pitted neighbours and developers against each other and cornered people into opposing any development in their back yard," he said.

"The 100 neighbourhood planning referendums show how our approach of getting the whole community working together is paying off and breaking through local opposition."

In February, the Government launched a £22m fund to support communities in developing their Neighbourhood Plans. Groups can apply for grants of up to £8,000 to help them write their plan, pay for events to engage with local people, develop websites and pay for specialist planning advice. Areas facing more complex planning issues can apply for up to £14,000.

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