The 6th of April 2012 heralded one of the biggest ever shake-ups in town planning. From now on neighbourhoods have the right to plan for their area. This brief guide spells out what you need to know, but if you want to discuss in more detail how neighbourhood planning affects your business call 01282 872570.

Not only will the local council produce plans, parish councils and other representative neighbourhood groups will have the power to make planning policy.

Already over 200 parishes are experimenting with these new powers. And with £50 million rumoured to be up for grabs to support communities in this work up until 2015 expect many more to take up the baton and neighbourhood plan.

What will this mean for business? Obviously, if you are in an area designated for neighbourhood planning it will immediately be another layer of planning to negotiate.

But business is not an innocent bystander here. Those preparing neighbourhood plans will have to consult those who run businesses and work in that area. So business will have an opportunity to shape neighbourhood plans.

Indeed, our view, as with all planning, is business needs to take this seriously. Neglecting to get involved at an early stage could lead to trouble later down the line. For example, a neighbourhood plan that prevents you building that new office, that much needed extension to a warehouse, or installation of a wind turbine. So keep an eye on this one. Don’t get caught out.

Where businesses can turn neighbourhood planning in to a real opportunity is by preparing their own neighbourhood plan. Trafford Park is preparing its own neighbourhood plan. Other business parks and industrial estates could do the same thing. Imagine the time and money you could save if your business park, or industrial estate, already had planning permission for telecommunications, renewables, car parking, or buildings extensions. Now are you ready for neighbourhood planning?

Kirkwells town planning and sustainable development consultants are advising a number of neighbourhoods and parishes to find out more about how neighbourhood planning could affect your business call Michael Wellock on 01282 872570


©Kirkwells Town Planners and Sustainable Development Consultants based at the Lancashire Digital Technology Centre in Burnley
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