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NALC agrees on measures to help strengthen neighbourhood planning

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The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) has agreed on a range of measures to help strengthen the neighbourhood planning process.

Neighbourhood planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. Around 90% of neighbourhood plans developed so far have been led by local (parish and town) councils.

However, a number of issues with the neighbourhood planning system have been identified, including a lack of sufficient weight for neighbourhood plans, the need to review neighbourhood plans every five years and the requirement for local planning authorities to have a five-year land supply.

NALC has put forward a number of proposals to address these points, including: ‘breathing space’ for communities preparing neighbourhood plans; local plans to be reviewed every ten years; the national standard requirement for housing land supply to be reduced to three years and for greater consideration to be given to neighbourhood plans when a planning application which conflicts with the neighbourhood plan is received. NALC is also seeking clarification on when emerging neighbourhood plans can be given weight.

Cllr Sue Baxter, chairman of NALC, said: "It’s about time the neighbourhood planning process was reformed. The current system is not working as effectively as it should be, with developers in many areas still free to build developments that are not in accordance with local wishes. The government should adopt the measures agreed by NALC to ensure a planning system which is truly led by local communities.  MHCLG also need to clarify the relationship between neighbourhood plans and new types of spatial plans.”

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