19 December 2023
Baldwin asks when additional protections for neighbourhood plans will take effect

Harriett Baldwin welcomes Government recognition of the efforts of rural communities who have developed neighbourhood plans, but raises concerns that these communities in West Worcestershire are being hindered by the lack of a local plan and asks if the additional protections announced for neighbourhood plans will be immediate or retroactive, and when they will take effect.

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire) (Con)

I thank the Minister for recognising the hard work that local communities such as Hallow, Clifton upon Teme, Kempsey and Welland have done in my largely rural constituency to develop neighbourhood plans, the strengthening of which has been announced today. None the less, those communities are being let down by the fact that our council is run by the independents and Greens, who do not have a local plan in place. Can he tell us whether the additional protections from speculative development will be immediate or retrospective? When will they take effect?

The Minister for Housing, Planning and Building Safety (Lee Rowley)

I am a huge fan of neighbourhood plans, as are many of my colleagues across the House. They give communities the opportunity to get involved in the planning process and to get into the detail. They also often demonstrate that having honest conversations with people about planning can take some of the challenge out of the system. We are updating the NPPF with regard to neighbourhood plans, and we are strengthening them, as my hon. Friend outlined. The NPPF is extant from the moment that it is uploaded. There are some indications at the back of the plan where policies take priority at a later date, but we are committed to putting neighbourhood planning at the centre of our planning policy, because we think that it is very successful and helpful for our communities.