Neighbourhood Plans continue to gain support

Neighbourhood Plans continue to gather interest with the news that the initiative has now broken through the 200 mark following strong support for local plans in three referendums in Herefordshire.

The plans, which give local people a say over where homes, schools and businesses should be built, how they should look and what infrastructure is needed to support them, require whole communities to engage with the plan before voting on it during a referendum.

Since 2013 there have been 200 plans that have progressed to the referendum stage of the process, with all 200 being approved by voters, with nearly 340,000 votes cast. On average 89 per cent of people who have voted were in favour of the proposed plan for their neighbourhood.

The three votes in Herefordshire saw Wellington vote with 87 per cent in favour, Fownhope vote with 67 per cent in favour, and Brimfield and Little Hereford vote with 92 per cent in favour. Early government figures indicate that plans for housebuilding are more than 10 per cent higher in areas that have a neighbourhood plan than in the council’s local plan.

Brandon Lewis, Housing and Planning Minister, said: “I’m delighted that 200 communities have now voted in neighbourhood planning to help shape the future of their areas.

“By giving communities new powers we have removed the outdated system which often saw local areas pitted against developers. And it is clear that more and more people are getting involved with determining how the future of their area will evolve for future generations.”