It’s time for the people to reclaim their plans?
We are now at a pivotal moment in the history of planning policy in England.
The draft Localism Bill passing through Parliament will give new powers to communities to determine what happens where they live. Parish and Town Councils will be able to prepare new ‘Neighbourhood Plans’ that will govern what goes where, and when.
The active participation of local people in planning the development of the area where they live is a positive thing.
When people have the opportunity to participate in planning, the result is not just a better outcome in the shape of a plan or development but also results in better relationships between the people in the area and the agencies charged with writing and implementing the plan.
That was the finding of a significant body of research work conducted by the respected charity, the Carnegie Trust.
So we must embrace Neighbourhood Planning as an opportunity for change, growth and regeneration at the local level, where it is most needed, driven by the local community.
We must facilitate it so that it reflects the aspirations, hopes and dreams of the entire local community and not just a select few.
But these aspirations should also be realistic so that we can deliver them.
Rural communities cannot stand still.