Assistance in connection with neighbourhood planning

Part of Neighbourhood Planning Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:15 pm ar 20 Hydref 2016.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of John Mann John Mann Llafur, Bassetlaw 3:15, 20 Hydref 2016

It is not just middle-class areas that have created such plans. The biggest one in my area is for Harworth, which until fairly recently was one of the last working collieries in the country. It has a huge working-class community. Its neighbourhood plan has been adopted by referendum and agreed by the district council, and it involves 1,500 new allocated housing spaces and vast amounts of new land allocated for employment. The community, knowing and demanding what it wants, has got on with it. So it is feasible to do that, and to do it quickly and in all communities.

I have two questions for the Minister. First, the reason why Harworth has been able to create a plan is that it has a part-time town clerk, so it had a bureaucratic system in place. In other areas in my constituency and in neighbouring constituencies, lots of places do not need to be creating bureaucratic structures. The last thing that most of my communities want is more paid public servants who do not live in the area , but would be going in and telling them what to do. All they want is power, so how will we stop bureaucracies building up on the back of neighbourhood planning?

Secondly, and complementary to the first question, instead of simply doling out money, which would suggest employment and other contracts, requiring institutions to deal with that, what are the prospects for the secondment of expertise? I have suggested that the Canal and River Trust could second a planner to assist the process in my area. The ability to second people in with the technical expertise to assist communities, with no pretence that those people are living or staying in the community, would empower neighbourhoods and have a dramatic positive impact, allowing other former mining communities in my area to repeat what Harworth has done.