NALC urges the government to stand firm against certain developer forces that seem to want to ride roughshod against the wishes of communities.
Recently a consortium of developers have formally launched a legal challenge to overturning the government’s move to strengthen neighbourhood plans in areas where local authority does not have a five year housing land supply.
Local councils play an increasingly important role in communities especially in neighbourhood planning as it is local councils that are at the heart of and driving forward the neighbourhood planning revolution, with around 90% of the 2000 communities developing a neighbourhood plan being led by England’s most local level of democracy.
Ironically local councils are helping communities to shake off their Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) critics by increasingly supporting housing development and growth, with the government’s own evidence showing they are increasing housing numbers by around 10%.
NALC calls on developers to work more closely with local councils and communities on fulfilling housing needs that this country desperately needs.
Neighbourhood planning is being used by local councils not only to shape and influence development in their area but also to increase housing and affordable housing, help communities become more resilient and support economic development, in addition to strengthening local democracy as the process is leading to more people standing for election to their local council.
The process is also exciting local people and generating a huge community interest, encouraging citizens to engage with often difficult local issues and often becoming more involved in the community including the work of local councils. Thousands of volunteers across the country are being mobilised by local councils to develop neighbourhood plans, with around 400,000 electors engaged in the process and casting their vote through local referendums to date.
Cllr Sue Baxter, chairman of NALC said: “We strongly urge the government to resist any calls from developers to water down the effectiveness of neighbourhood plans. Also we call on this consortium of developers to change their tack and work more closely with local councils and communities on future housing and developer needs. Finally it is important to stress that neighbourhood planning is not about NIMBYism but in fact it is the opposite allowing for more appropriate housing and development to meet community needs.”