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Wed October 28 2020

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Pickles pushes planning powers down to neighbourhoods

7 Dec 10 Plans to give local neighbourhoods control over planning have been outline by the government as part of its so-called Big Society initiative

Secretary of State Eric Pickles
Secretary of State Eric Pickles

The idea, which forms part of the Localism Bill, is that powers will be pushed down from Whitehall and town halls to allow local people to determine the character of their neighbourhoods.

The decentralisation of the planning system, which forms part of the Localism Bill, was explained by communities secretary Eric Pickles and planning minister Greg Clark.

Neighbourhood groups will be given powers to decide what developments should take place where, and what green spaces should be protected. The proposal is that parish councils and new neighbourhood forums of local people will take the lead in planning instead of town hall officials. If local people then vote in favour of new 'Neighbourhood Plans' in local referendums, councils will have to adopt them.

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To combat “nimbyism” local communities will be given financial incentives, such as the New Homes Bonus, to allow developments to go ahead.

Eric Pickles, Secretary of state for communities and local government, said: "For far too long local people have had too little say over a planning system that has imposed bureaucratic decisions by distant officials in Whitehall and the town hall. We need to change things so there is more people-planning and less politician-planning, so there is more direct democracy and less bureaucracy in the system. These reforms will become the building blocks of the Big Society."

Planning minister Greg Clark added: "Most people love where they live, yet the planning system has given them almost no say on how their neighbourhood develops. The Coalition Government will revolutionise the planning process by taking power away from officials and putting it into the hands of those who know most about their neighbourhood - local people themselves. This will be a huge opportunity for communities to exercise genuine influence over what their home town should look like in the future. It will create the freedom and the incentives for those places that want to grow, to do so, and to reap the benefits. It's a reason to say yes."

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