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Communities urged to make full use of their rights and join over 800 groups now working on neighbourhood plans.

Department for Communities and Local Government
Published 28 November 2013
Communities were urged to make full use of their rights and join the hundreds of groups now working up plans that will set out the future vision for their neighbourhood, Planning Minister Nick Boles said today (28 November 2013).
A new landmark has been reached with more than 800 communities now working on getting a neighbourhood plan in place.
Neighbourhood planning is one of the new community rights introduced by government to give people more say over their area and puts communities in charge of setting out the homes, shops and amenities they want in their neighbourhood.
Neighbourhood planning is also beginning to take off in our cities. Places such as Holbeck and Beeston in Leeds, Spring Boroughs and the Blackthorn and Goldings estate in Northampton, Inner East Preston, Somers Town near Kings Cross and a number of communities across Bristol are all making progress towards neighbourhood plans that will help revitalize these areas.
Neighbourhood planning ends the planning resentment that stops the homes, businesses and facilities people want being built by replacing top down regional planning.
It gives communities a new role and strong voice in local planning with the plans having a real statutory weight in the planning system.
In addition to deciding the future of their area, local people will benefit from development in their area, especially if they have a plan. Areas with a neighbourhood plan will receive 25% of community infrastructure levy revenues to spend on projects important to them. There is no upper limit to how much they will receive, as opposed to areas without a plan, who will receive 15%, with a cap.


Abbeydore and Bacton, Ewyas Harold Group and Kentchurch 
Bartestree and Lugwardine 
Bishops Frome
Bishopstone Group
Border Group
Brampton Abbotts 
Brimfield & Little Hereford
Brockhampton with Much Fawley
Bromyard, Winslow and Avenbury
Callow and Haywood
Hampton Bishop
Holme Lacy
Hope under Dinmore
How Caple, Sollers Hope and Yatton Group
Humber, Ford & Stoke Prior
Kings Caple 
Kington, Kington Rural and Lower Harpton
Little Dewchurch
Lower Bullingham
Luston group
Much Marcle
Orleton and Richards Castle
Pyons Group
Ross on Wye and Ross Rural
Stretton Sugwas
Upton Bishop 
Vowchurch and District
Welsh Newton And Llanrothal 
Whitchurch and Ganarew Group
The majority of plans above are being undertaken by parish councils. Interesting to note that the towns of Bromyard, Ledbury, Leominster, Kington are having a say in their future. Not surprising Hereford City, one of the largest parish councils in the country is not listed. With seven wards in Hereford City residents may wish to have a say in their future. How do they go about creating a plan? Most of my enquiries have not been responed to. Perhaps a city councillor can elaborate?
If the neighbourhood plan had been in place would OLM have gone ahead?
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The Our Place! programme (formerly ‘neighbourhood community budgets’) gives communities the opportunity to take control of dealing with local issues in their area.


This could include:

* Parents who are worried their children don’t have enough to do

* Businesses who are struggling to find local staff with the right skills

* Public servants who need to make their resources stretch further

* Residents who want to make their neighbourhood a better place to live

* or whatever is the local priority


Using the Our Place! approach means putting the community at the heart of decision making and bringing together the right people – councillors, public servants, businesses, voluntary and community organisations and the community itself - to revolutionise the way a neighbourhood works.


12 areas have been piloting the Our Place! approach since 2012 and are now putting their plans into practice. Read more about about their successes and lessons learnt.


The governmnet have made available a further £4.3 million to support at least 100 areas to develop their Our Place! operational plans by March 2015 and will appoint a contractor to help provide this support soon.


Of these 100 areas, the contractor will support 20 to adopt a more radical approach by, for example, focusing on large or complex services The support is likely to be a mix of technical advice and grant funding and other direct help to enable areas to put their operational plans in place.


We will expect our support provider/s to work with a range of different organisations including local authorities, parish and town councils, community groups and other public-sector bodies (eg NHS trusts and police authorities).


Become an Our Place! team – further information

For more detailed information on Our Place! or to express an interest in becoming an Our Place! neighbourhood email the Our Place! team


Additional information including quick guides can be found on the My Community Rights website.


Sounds like a good idea - any comments? Or will this money just go the government's "Locality" groups? See previous post on this subject.

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  • 2 months later...

Red tape trips up ramblers

6:00am Thursday 6th February 2014 in HT News by Jess Phillips
VOLUNTEERS who set out to save the taxpayer money say they have been told to put down their tools because of health and safety regulations.
Herefordshire Ramblers followed the Prime Minister’s Big Society vision by building foot-bridges and repairing stiles and gates found on many of the county’s footpaths.
The work was carried out at no cost to the public purse and saved the council’s then contract partner Amey from taking on the jobs, primarily on the Herefordshire Trail.
But since Balfour Beatty took over from Amey in delivering public realm services last September, health and safety rules have prevented the ramblers from continuing their volunteer work.
Arthur Lee, chairman of Herefordshire Ramblers, said: “We began volunteering partially to help improve the state of some of the county’s footpaths but also to take some of the financial pressures off Amey.
“Our work was overseen by staff from Amey initially and once they were confident that we were competent we would receive a work ticket for anything we flagged up and would then work on it.
“While footpaths in the county are generally good, in places they can be quite difficult to walk over and in times of austerity, I think it’s even more important to be out there helping.â€
Mr Lee claims his group was told by Balfour Beatty that it was unable to continue with its volunteer work because of health and safety regulations.
“That’s fine for major highways and roads but for digging a hole in the middle of the countryside?
The risks are quite low,†he added.
Several of the county’s market towns – Leominster, Ross-on-Wye, Kington and Bromyard – now boast the Walkers are Welcome accreditation.
The county also hosts a walking festival in June, and Mr Lee believes it is important to work together to promote Herefordshire’s footpaths to tourists.
“The Big Society idea will work but there’s got to be some guidance,†he said.
“We would love to get on with work but we are not allowed to by those higher up.â€
When contacted by the Hereford Times, Will Steel, public rights of way manager with Balfour Beatty Living Places, said his company was looking for a solution to the situation.
He added: “Balfour Beatty is establishing a procedure to enable the county’s valued volunteers to help the public rights of way team keep the network accessible, tidy and in a good state of repair, while ensuring their safety is protected.â€
Maybe The Community Right to Challenge which enables communities to bid to take over local services they think they can run differently and better is the solution. The Ramblers obviously have a good track record.
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I see the ramblers have replied in "Have your Say".


I offer a solution – back off !

AS A member of a group which leads monthly walks in the beautiful county of Herefordshire, I have a particular interest in the maintenance of public footpaths.
Thank you to Jessica Phillips for informing readers of the Hereford Times of the good work that has been undertaken by Arthur Lee and other volunteers to ensure easy access to the countryside by repairing stiles and gates.
Thank you, too, for alerting us to Balfour Beatty’s obsession with Health and Safety. This bureaucratic nonsense kills local initiative and enterprise.
Your article states that Balfour Beatty Living Places are “looking for a solution to the situationâ€. I offer a solution – back off !
We pay our council tax to Herefordshire Council not Balfour Beatty. Do we have to tolerate this interference? Cannot Herefordshire Council over-ride Big Brother?
Brian Hubbard Belmont


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