Guide helps residents shape community future through new planning law

A NEW leaflet gives residents the information they need to make planning policies to shape their area for generations to come.

The Government has introduced Neighbourhood Planning under its new Localism Act to give communities a greater voice in shaping the future of their area.

It means community groups can now draw up planning policies for the use and development of land under a Neighbourhood Development Plan, including:

* Where new homes, shops and offices should go.

* Which green spaces should be protected.

* What new development should look like.

In areas covered by a parish or town council they are responsible for writing the Neighbourhood Development Plan.

But in areas which do not have a parish or town council other groups can apply to become a Neighbourhood Forum which can the write the Neighbourhood Development Plan.

Derbyshire County Council has produced a new leaflet, called Neighbourhood plans – a voice for your community, to offer advice and guidance.

Cllr Kevin Parkinson, Derbyshire County Council cabinet member for regeneration, said: “People have strong opinions about change to the area where they live and Neighbourhood Development Plans give them a greater say in shaping its future.

“They’re about giving people the chance to be positive about the changes they would like to see, not about saying no to new development.

“Our new leaflet provides important information to help people decide whether a Neighbourhood Development Plan is for them and gives useful contacts.”

To become a Neighbourhood Forum the group must be representative of the community, have a minimum of 21 members, and be open to new members to join.

Any plan it draws up must conform to the district or borough council’s planning strategy, called its Core Strategy.

It will be subject to an independent check and a community referendum will determine whether the plan is legally adopted.

The leaflets have been distributed to district, borough and parish councils. They are also available from Derbyshire County Council libraries.