Why a North West Neighbourhood Planning Network?

There has been a lot of speculation about Neighbourhood Planning ever since it was introduced by the Localism Act in 2012: who would take up the opportunity? what kind of Plans would be produced? how easy will people find the process? and what support can be provided to make it easier?
Generally those who have managed to produce Neighbourhood Plans have found the experience a positive one but there also groups who have found the process difficult. In all cases, however, there are reasons to believe that the whole process could be made easier, more effective and more rewarding. One way in which the whole experience can be improved in this way is by bringing neighbourhood planners together so that they can share their experiences, learn from one another and work together.
That was the reasoning behind the North West Neighbourhood Planning Network. While Neighbourhood Planning represents a great opportunity to address issues at a neighbourhood level, there is currently a lack of any coordination between neighbourhood planning groups and potential neighbourhood planning groups in the region. In addition, there are concerns about the lack of Neighbourhood Planning in certain parts of North West – especially non-parished areas such as Liverpool and Manchester.
There is are great potential benefits of greater coordination such as:
  • Sharing information and experience,
  • Moral support,
  • Signposting towards help such as funding sources, guidance etc
  • Advocacy on behalf of Neighbourhood Planners and feedback to those involved in Neighbourhood planning such as Local Planning Authorities, Locality, Groundwork and Ministry of Housing Community and Local Government about their actions and programmes etc,
  • Evidence of and greater understanding of needs and issues facing Neighbourhood Planners in the region
  • Tailored support for Neighbourhood Planners in region
We hope that this network will be able to bring together those with an interest in Neighbourhood Planning in the region whether you are a Neighbourhood Planning Group, a potential Neighbourhood Planning Group or are involved in Neighbourhood Planning in some other capacity for example as a consultant or academic or just a member of the public interested in the subject.
The Network hopes to achieve this by being very open to new members, no fee required, so that as many people can join as possible. The network will use the website, e-mail bulletins and social media to keep members up to date about what it is doing and to help spread the word about the network. We will use surveys and discussions on social media to get as clear an idea as possible of what the issues are affecting Neighbourhood Planners in the area and what the Network can do about it for example by advocating on behalf of members or organising training or addressing issues through resources on our website including Frequently Asked Questions and through our blog and e-mails.
Ultimately, like any network, the success of the NWNPN will depend on the involvement of its members so if you haven’t already done so, head over to our home page and sign up, it’s free, to receive our e-mail bulletins and let us know what you would like to see and what you would like the Network to address. Don’t worry! we won’t clog up your inbox, you can expect a bulletin around once every 2 months while there will be opportunity for discussions over on our social media channels.
With that said, we look forward to hearing from you.

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