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Neighbourhood Planning takes a step forward [18.10.11]

ACRE welcomes the latest announcement from the Department for Communities and Local Government on taking forward Neighbourhood Planning which gives communities new powers to influence the future of their local area.

The announcement by Greg Clark, Minister for Decentralisation, included the release of an easy to understand guide to Neighbourhood Planning which will help communities prepare and make use of the new powers. In addition, a consultation has been put out for public comment, detailing the regulations that will govern the Neighbourhood Planning process.

This follows on from the government’s selection of approximately 110 ‘frontrunner’ communities that are being encouraged to prepare neighbourhood plans with the support of their local authority in advance of the Localism Act measures taking effect. The full list of participating communities can be viewed here. A high proportion of the communities chosen are in rural towns and villages, each focusing on a number of areas that include affordable housing, housing for the elderly, broadband, transport and education.

Sylvia Brown, Chief Executive of Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) said:

“Neighbourhood Planning offers a step change in giving communities the right to plan the future of their communities. For many years, our members have helped communities to work together to generate local action through Community Led Planning (CLP). The option now exists for communities to take this further and help achieve their aspirations through the statutory planning system”.

“With Neighbourhood Plans, the community takes responsibility for compiling evidence, debating solutions and using the planning system to securing preferred options, working in conjunction with their local planning authority. The benefit of basing this work on Community Led Planning is that the process strengthens the quality and range of decisions made about the future of local services and facilities”.

“The bonus is that the CLP process also generates high community participation and the commitment to making solutions work through sustained community action. ACRE recently published a guide to local authority participation, ‘Making the Most of Community Led Planning’ which describes best practice already happening across the country. The experience documented in this will be highly relevant in supporting communities to take on the challenge of Neighbourhood Planning”.


Notes to editors

For further ACRE comment on this press release, contact Phillip Vincent on 01285 653477,

  1. The plain English guide to Neighbourhood Planning is available at:
  2. The Government consultation on Neighbourhood Planning regulations is available at:
  3. The listings of fourth wave of front runners are at:
  4. Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) is the national body of the Rural Community Action Network.Our members are charitable local development agencies that provide local support for rural communities across the country. They act as a catalyst in generating community-led initiatives which enhance the vibrancy, well-being and sustainability of rural communities.
  5. Community Led Planning is a step-by-step process that enables every citizen to participate in, and contribute to improving the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of their local area. Already undertaken by approximately 4,000 communities across England, it represents an unparalleled opportunity for people to take responsibility for making things happen locally, rather than waiting on others to do it for them.
  6. Making the most of CLP: a best practice guide for local authorities was jointly produced by Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) and Action for Market Towns (AMT) with part sponsorship from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
  7. ACRE’s briefings on Neighbourhood Planning and other Localism Act measures are available at