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Babergh and Mid Suffolk councils to receive Government funding boost to help 'levelling up' across the districts

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Two councils have today been named as part of a pilot scheme to help residents influence development in their area.

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities announced today that Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are among 11 areas nationwide to be chosen as part of a pilot scheme to boost participation in neighbourhood planning.

The councils will now receive an award of £45,000 in Government funding to create a new post, designed to encourage more people to engage with the planning system in both districts.

Mid Suffolk and Babergh Council HQ at Endeavour House, Ipswich. Picture: Jason Noble
Mid Suffolk and Babergh Council HQ at Endeavour House, Ipswich. Picture: Jason Noble

The ability to create a Neighbourhood Plan was introduced as part of the Government’s Localism Act 2011, and designed to give communities the opportunity to develop a shared vision for their area.

Unlike a parish plan or village design statement, a successful Neighbourhood Plan has statutory weight and, once adopted, is used to help decide planning applications.

Across both districts, around 50 parishes have embarked on the Neighbourhood Planning process.

Councillor Clive Arthey
Councillor Clive Arthey

To date, 16 Neighbourhood Plans have been successfully adopted, with many others at an advanced stage.

Cllr Clive Arthey, Babergh District Council’s cabinet member for planning, said: "This is marvellous news and will help us work with even more local communities to ensure they have a say on developments within their neighbourhoods and support those who want to be more active in the planning process to help shape their communities for the future.”

Cllr David Burn, Mid Suffolk District Council’s cabinet member for Planning, said: “I welcome this funding boost for our work in engaging our local towns and parishes and supporting them to be more active and involved in community-led planning for their areas.

Councillor David Burn
Councillor David Burn

"Neighbourhood planning helps everyone to play a direct role in shaping their local area and I look forward to supporting even more communities in having their say in the months and years ahead.”

The other councils chosen are Bassetlaw District Council, Harborough District Council, Leeds City Council, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Middlesbrough Council, and South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils.

Another four councils have been allocated up to £50,000 to give residents additional support to produce a Neighbourhood Plan Thee are Birmingham City Council, Chorley Council, Middlesbrough Council, and St Helens Council.

A spokesperson for the Green Party on the councils said: “The best way to increase participation in neighbourhood plans is to take them seriously when we determine planning applications.”

You can find out more about Neighbourhood Planning in and Mid Suffolk Babergh and Mid Suffolk