What is a Neighbourhood Plan?
Neighbourhood Plans were introduced by the government in 2011 with the intention of giving communities a greater say in planning for their local area:
Neighbourhood planning gives communities direct power to develop a shared vision for their neighbourhood and shape the development and growth of their local area. They are able to choose where they want new homes, shops and offices to be built, have their say on what those new buildings should look like and what infrastructure should be provided, and grant planning permission for the new buildings they want to see go ahead..(Department for Communities and Local Government, 2016)
There are many neighbourhood plans already in place all over the country. In Berkshire, several plans are in force and more are being developed.
To help deliver the plan, communities that take a proactive approach by drawing up a neighbourhood plan and secure the consent of local people in a referendum, will benefit from 25 percent of the revenues from the Community Infrastructure Levy arising from the development that takes place in their area. Without a plan in place, this amount reduces to 15% and is capped at a maximum amount per new house.
Once a neighbourhood plan is in force following a successful referendum, it carries real legal weight. Decision makers are obliged to consider proposals for development in the neighbourhood against the neighbourhood plan.
The Steering Group has completed the first eight stages of the process. Currently work is progressing on stage 9 – Submission. This means that the Neighbourhood Plan has been formally submitted to Wokingham Borough Council for their review.
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