Neighbourhood planning 'is not for Nimbys'
By Mark Smulian | 4 October 2011
Fears that neighbourhood planning will be a ‘Nimby
charter’ are misplaced, think-tank Localis said today.
The Localism Bill proposes allowing neighbourhoods
to adopt formal plans that specify the development sought in their area. This
has raised fears in the property industry that community activists would use
the plans to block development, and in councils that the plans would conflict
with wider objectives for their area.
But in a report published today, Localis argues
that neighbourhood plans could deliver a more positive attitude to planning
from all involved. It says local authorities must act as ‘honest brokers’
between developers and residents and provide an overarching strategic vision
Experience from around England suggests that giving
residents a stake in planning fosters greater trust in the process, it adds.
Localis chief executive Alex Thomson said: ‘Everybody
has much to gain from a more open, collaborative approach to planning,’
But the think-tank warns that adequate resources
are essential if neighbourhood planning is to be effective. It suggests councils
should earmark part of the money they receive for permitting development – the
Community Infrastructure Levy and New Homes Bonus – to fund the plans.
Developers should ‘view the process as an
opportunity for collaboration, and the creation of a more efficient, less
confrontational planning system’, it says.
It adds that winning local trust in the planning
process would be easier if central government were seen to be serious about localism,
and ‘a willingness not to intervene in local planning decisions would also be
The report, Power to the people: the future ofplanning in a localist landscape, has been prepared with
support from Birmingham City Council and developer Land Securities.