Government selects areas that will trial new neighbourhood planning powers

The Government has announced the names of 17 areas that will trial its neighbourhood planning reforms.

The reforms, which were unveiled in the Localism Bill (click here for more details), are designed to give local people more of a say in the way their neighbourhoods are developed. Through local parish councils or neighbourhood forums, local people will be able to decide which types of development should be given automatic planning permission through a ‘Neighbourhood Development Order’ (NDO). If approved by a local referendum, a council will have to adopt a neighbourhood plan, providing it is line with the council’s wider ambitions for growth in the area.

Local authorities will work with community groups and parish councils in the 17 pilot neighbourhood areas to prepare draft plans and NDOs. These documents will be prepared under the current legal and policy framework, ahead of the new provisions for neighbourhood planning that will be introduced by the Localism Bill when it is enacted. (It is thought that the Bill will be enacted in late 2011 and will come into force in early 2012.)

The 17 ‘front-runners’ include both rural and urban areas. They are:

1. Birmingham City Council – Balsall Heath (Birmingham);

2. Bristol City Council – Lockleaze (Bristol);

3. London Borough of Southwark – Bermondsey;

4. London Borough of Sutton – Hackbridge;

5. North Tyneside Council – North Shields Fish Quay;

6. Wirral Borough Council – Devonshire Park;

7. Allerdale Borough Council – Cockermouth;

8. Blaby District Council – Blaby;

9. Cherwell Borough Council – Banbury;

10. Exmoor National Park Authority – Lynton;

11. Gedling Borough Council – Newstead;

12. Lewes District Council – Ringmer;

13. Northumberland County – Allendale;

14. Shropshire Council – Much Wenlock;

15. Teignbridge District Council – Dawlish;

16. West Dorset District Council – Cerne Abbas; and

17. Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead – Bray.

Each of the 17 pilot areas will receive £20,000 towards developing their plan from a £1m fund.

The pilot areas will not be able to put their draft plans and NDOs into effect until the relevant provisions on neighbourhood planning in the Localism Bill come into force.