Impact on Businesses
As initially drated, the Localism Bill did not once mention the word ‘business’ inrelation to Neighbourhood Planning. It has since been recognised that this wasa major omission. Proposed amendments to the Bill would broaden the role o Neighbourhood Plans which could now be set up expressly or “promoting thecarrying on o trades, proessions or other businesses in such an area”, therebystrengthening the role o business in Neighbourhood Planning.Government has announced eight Business-led Neighbourhood Plan Front Runners
,which will trial the proposed new powers, and has invited bids rom local authoritieswho wish to work with business organisation(s) and/or community groups toundertake neighbourhood planning prior to the enactment o the Bill.It is clear that the changes proposed could apply and work well in a defned businesspark, industrial estate or employment area. What is not so clear is how businessesmight engage in the process in a town centre or mixed use area or other orms o communities, which include substantial residential development. The Frontrunnersshould provide some useul lessons as to how this may operate eectively.
How this may impact on your business
Neighbourhood Planning gives businesses the opportunity to help shape theuture o the localities in which they operate. Set out below are some answers toquestions you may have about the role o business in Neighbourhood Planning.Some o the answers are not known, and will only emerge as the Bill and thedesignated Front Runners progress.
Questions and AnswersWhat is a neighbourhood plan and what are the benefts o having one?
The purpose o Neighbourhood Planning is to give local people andbusinesses greater ownership o the plans and policies which aect their localarea. The intention is to empower communities to take a proactive role inshaping the uture o the areas in which they live and work.Neighbourhood Planning has the potential to help ensure that development is inline with local needs, and provides more certainty or developers, residents andbusinesses. A neighbourhood plan would be able to identiy the specifc site orbroad location or development and speciy the orm, size, type and design.
How will businesses be involved?
In parished areas, it is the Parish Council that comprises the body responsibleor bringing orward Neighbourhood Plans and opportunities. About 35% o the population in England live in an area with a Parish Council
. In these areasbusinesses may suggest to the Parish Council that a plan should be preparedbut they will not orm part o the constituted body developing the plan. Inthese circumstances, businesses will be involved through the consultationprocess. However, they could sponsor the process, and thus have a greaterinuence in the outcome.In unparished areas a Neighbourhood Forum will need to be established topropose and develop a Plan. The Forum must write a constitution and it needsto be representative o the area it covers. Under changes to the Localism Bill, itshould constitute a minimum o 21 people. Business interests can and shouldbe represented on the Forum, which may even be business-led.
SKM Colin Buchanan