Long before the term ‘localism’ was adopted by government, rural communities were taking control and deciding on what was best for them. Community-Led Planning has always been at the heart of rural communities; whether it’s a Parish Plan, Community or Village Design Statement or a Neighbourhood Plan. The ACRE Network has continued to adapt and provide support and resources to communities to ensure they can produce high-quality plans.
There are housing shortages throughout the UK, but rural areas face particular difficulties. Competition for housing means that rural house prices are 26% higher than in urban areas. Coupled with this, local earnings are often lower in rural than urban areas. Landowners and local businesses, as well as local residents, are more than ever recognising that a range of housing that is affordable for all sections of the community is essential if rural communities are to thrive economically and socially in the years to come.
One of the mechanisms for enabling development in rural areas is Neighbourhood Planning; this can be used by a community to help determine the size and type of development in their area. Our members have been promoting Neighbourhood Planning and working with local communities to support them to develop this area of activity. Grants are available to help you develop a Neighbourhood Plan and your local planning authority can also offer resources. For more information on the support available contact the ACRE Network Member in your area.
ACRE worked with Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) to run a series of Neighbourhood Plan roadshows in Spring 2016 to promote the benefits of Neighbourhood Planning to communities that haven’t engaged with the process and to help overcome some of the myths.
Ten areas of rural England were identified where take-up of the opportunities provided by Neighbourhood Planning had been relatively slow. ACRE Network members and CPRE branches, worked in partnership with other local organisations to hold a series of events during March 2016. Each event included presentations from local groups who have been involved in Neighbourhood Planning, representatives from local planning authorities, and an official from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) who funded the programme. Case studies and resources from the events can be downloaded on the right of this page.