RCCs ready to help communities tap into Neighbourhood Planning cash
by Claire McGine, Head of Communications

Rural Community Councils are ready to help communities across England tap into the £9.5m funding pot launched by the Government today (May 1) for Neighbourhood Plans.

Neighbourhood Planning enables communities to shape the future of their area within certain limits. Residents can decide on where they want new homes and shops to be built and what they want them to look like.

The concept was introduced under the Localism Act in 2011 and now DCLG (Department for Communities and Local Government) has made funding available of up to £7,000 per community to help them draw up their plans.

"The DCLG funding is great news for communities who are in a position to access the monies that are available. With up to £7,000 available per community it demonstrates the Government’s commitment to establishing ‘localism’ as the norm."

Communities will be able to apply for grants and support from a number of organisations working with nationwide charity Locality. Information is available via a website, My Community Rights, which offers advice and links to support and guidance for Neighbourhood Planning and other localism rights. http://mycommunityrights.org.uk/

ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England), the national umbrella organisation for England’s 38 rural community councils (RCCs), says its network is ready to help communities make the most of the money available.

Around 200 communities are already up and running as Neighbourhood Planning ‘frontrunners’, with more than 50% supported in getting their plan under way by their local RCCs.

Nick Chase, Director of Policy and Research at ACRE said: “The DCLG funding is great news for communities who are in a position to access the monies that are available. With up to £7,000 available per community it demonstrates the Government’s commitment to establishing ‘localism’ as the norm.

“The longstanding experience of RCCs in helping rural communities to develop Parish Plans and the more holistic Community-Led Plans, means they are ahead of the game and will be the natural port of call for many rural communities wanting to develop a Neighbourhood Plan.

“Communities in rural areas will be able to call upon the help of their trusted Rural Community Council to submit an application for the grants available. RCCs are independent charitable bodies with a very long history of ‘being there’ for rural communities. They are not ‘flown in’ consultants and really do know the people and the area they both live and work in.

“RCCs will be able to help Parish Councils and communities through the process so that their Plans can stand up to the consultation, inspection and referenda stages.”

Communities can find the contact details for their county’s rural community council here.