Council to receive Government cash boost to develop neighbourhood plans

North Somerset Council has been given cash to help communities develop neighbourhood plans. PICTURE:

North Somerset Council has been given cash to help communities develop neighbourhood plans. PICTURE: GOOGLE STREET VIEW - Credit: Google Street View

North Somerset Council is set to receive a cash boost from central government to help parish councils develop new neighbourhood plans.

Six councils in the South West will split £260,000 of funding to help town and parish councils develop neighbourhood plans including Cornwall, Dorset, Mendip, South Somerset, and Wiltshire, although it has not yet been confirmed what share of the cash North Somerset will receive.

Council leader Don Davies said: "We welcome this money.

"Our communities are keen to develop neighbourhood plans - in my own ward, Abbots Leigh and Pill/Easton-in-Gordano are putting plans together at the moment.

"While a lot of voluntary hours go into the process there are professional costs for our officers for their expertise and the assistance they give, as well as costs incurred running the public examination of a plan and holding the referendum when residents get to vote on it."

Announcing the plans, which also included £1million in funds to build 19,000 new homes in the South West, housing minister Esther McVey said: "Communities have the local insight to decide what new homes should look like and the kind of infrastructure they need in their area.

"This is what neighbourhood planning is all about, so I'm pleased this funding for councils in the South West will ensure that the right homes are built in the right places.

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"I am also announcing extra cash to deliver new vibrant garden communities, which will help deliver tens of thousands of well-designed new homes for hardworking families."

The cash comes hot on the heels of North Somerset Council voting to pull out of the Joint Spatial Plan and develop its own local plan instead. The scrapped plans were developed by the four West of England councils as an over-arching planning document to guide sustainable development across the area until 2036, and included 2,500 homes in Nailsea and a further 700 in Backwell.

However, following a consultation from the Planning Inspectorate over the summer, the authorities were told 'the changes necessary to the JSP are so fundamental that, in effect, the examination would have to be run again,' and recommended the plan in its current form be scrapped and for councils to seek alternatives.