Monthly Archives: March 2013

Farewell Regional Plans

Originally outlined in the Coalition Programme for Government in May 2010 the death of regional plans (Regional Spatial Strategies) has been a slow and painful one. Eric Pickles first tried to see off regional plans in a letter to local planning authorities in May 2010. Only to be challenged in the courts by Cala Homes. This legal process finally running out of steam in May 2011. Next up it was found abolition needed separate strategic environmental assessments for each regional plan. Now abolition of all the regional plans is all but complete. With some relief Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said: “This government is committed to localism and greater local decision-making in planning. The flawed top-down targets of regional planning, … Continue reading

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Budget 2013 and Planning

Hot off the press. What has Budget 2013 to say about planning. More than we expected to be fair. After last year’s hotly awaited NPPF we anticipated planning might get a bit of a breather. So here’s a quick round-up… The Government intends to take forward two Carbon Capture and Storage projects to the detailed planning and design stage. The Government is set to introduce a new shale gas field allowance and extend the ring-fence expenditure supplement from six to ten years for shale gas projects to promote investment in this industry at an early stage of its development.  Technical planning guidance on shale gas will be produced by July 2013 to provide clarity around planning for shale gas during the … Continue reading

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£9.5 million Funding to Support Neighbourhood Plans

This is the big news we flagged up some time ago in our monthly Neighbourhood Planning News. And, today (14 March 2013), Communities Minister Don Foster announced a £9.5 million of funding, over 2-years to support people in creating neighbourhood plans to shape development in their area. Groups of residents seeking to create a neighbourhood plan will be able to bid for up to £7,000 of funding each to contribute to the costs of preparing their proposal. Neighbourhood planning groups will find full details about the new 2-year programme from 15 April on the My Community Rights website. Communities will be able to submit applications for support and grants from 1 May 2013. First payments and direct support packages are expected to be agreed in … Continue reading

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Upper Eden Neighbourhood Plan: Yes Vote

In the landmark vote the residents of Upper Eden have voted “Yes” in their neighbourhood plan referendum. In response to the question: “Do you want Eden District Council to use the Neighbourhood Plan for the Upper Eden area to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?” The vote went as follows: Yes: 1,310 No: 138 But the real boost for neighbourhood planning, and one Ministers must have been waiting for with hands over the eyes, was the turnout: 1,452 (33.67%).  We must admit we had been thinking this could have been in the low teens. After the dismal Police Commissioner turnout of 15%. Welcoming the result Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “This really is localism in action and a … Continue reading

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4,000 Holes In Blackburn Lancashire, But Only 3 Neighbourhood Plans!

That’s right.  There are only three places in Lancashire taking control of their future and preparing neighbourhood plans.  This may be down to lack of information, time or money. We can answer the information question. We run FREE neighbourhood planning training. Some of you have taken advantage of this already. You may want a refresher. To book a session call us on 01282 872570 or email We can also help with the time and money questions. At Kirkwells we offer parish and town councils special reduced rates on all our independent, expert neighbourhood planning services. Our attached leaflet explains these in more detail.  Kirkwells are probably the country’s leading experts on neighbourhood planning advising some of the Government’s frontrunners, and a number of other areas. If you are in need of support … Continue reading

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