IMPORTANT NOTICE OF GRANT AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT FOR FINANCIAL YEAR (2024/2025)

We are now open for applications for grant and Technical Support.

DLUHC have extended the support for a seventh year (2024/2025). The Neighbourhood Planning Support Programme will continue to offer grants and Technical Support packages.

Please apply via the Apply page of the website.

The anticipated high demand for neighbourhood planning support means that it will be necessary to prioritise applications.

The process for prioritising Technical Support applications will be determined by DLUHC, taking into account Government priorities such as housing, regeneration, climate change and environmental improvement.

Currently, there is no requirement to prioritise grant applications; however, if the amount of available funding is insufficient to meet the demand, we may need to prioritise applications in the future. Please note, that expenditure met through grant must be completed on or before 31st March 2025

What is Technical Support?

Technical Support includes professional support and advice on technical or process issues. It is available for eligible groups facing more complex issues in developing their neighbourhood plan or neighbourhood development order.

Technical Support is awarded as a technical work package and is separate to grant. It has no relation to how much grant a group can have. It is delivered free of charge to groups who qualify by meeting the eligibility criteria, e.g. allocating sites for housing.

If you are a group and are experiencing entrenched issues or cannot reach an agreement with a statutory agency (including your local planning authority) and this is preventing you from progressing, we may be able to offer you some time-limited support through our delivery partners.

To find out more please complete our contact us form, setting out your issues. We can then consider this and get back to you.

Eligibility for Technical Support

Are you at least one of the following:

  • Allocating sites for housing
  • Including design codes in your plan
  • Planning to use a neighbourhood development order
  • An undesignated forum needing help to get designated (this unlocks the ‘Setting up a Neighbourhood Planning Group (in unparished areas)’ package of support only. To be eligible for the other packages of support your forum will need to be designated)
  • A designated neighbourhood forum
  • A group based in an area which has a high level of deprivation (where 30% or more of the neighbourhood area or population is in the 20% most deprived areas in England according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation)

If the answer is yes to any of the above you can apply for Technical Support.

Don’t forget, you can also apply for grant funding as well as Technical Support.

What Technical Support packages are available?

To find out more about the Technical Support packages available, you can download the full Technical Support package document or read the summaries of the packages below.

Apply for Technical Support

1. Setting up a Neighbourhood Planning Group (in unparished areas only)

Provides practical help to a potential neighbourhood forum over an extended period of time to build up its early knowledge, functionality, the broadest possible membership and best structure in order to apply for successful designation as a qualifying body (QB) – the group that leads neighbourhood planning in an area – for neighbourhood planning purposes.

2. Housing Needs Assessment (HNA)

This assessment provides vital evidence to help you understand the expected demand for housing in your neighbourhood over your plan period.

3. Site Options and Assessment

This Technical Support package will provide advice to groups who are intending to assess potential sites with a view to allocating land for development in a neighbourhood plan. The report will not usually include both site assessment and site allocation advice (e.g. which sites are finally included in a plan) as the preferred sites for allocation will often need additional investigation and discussion with landowners and the local planning authority as well as consultation with the community before they are allocated through the plan.

4. Site Viability

Many neighbourhood planning groups seek to bring forward development on specific sites, for example via an allocation in a neighbourhood plan or via neighbourhood development orders (NDOs) and community right to build orders (CRtBOs). To ensure the proposals are both successful and deliverable, they must be viable. This package will help you understand the viability of your proposed development scheme, whether it be via the neighbourhood plan, or the NDO and CRtBO routes. In doing so the work will enable you to identify realistic proposals for site redevelopment and enhance the likelihood that sites will come forward.

5. Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Where a neighbourhood planning group has been told by a local planning authority that they need an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) ‘screening opinion’, the group will receive clear advice on whether an EIA is required where a development is promoted through a neighbourhood development order (NDO) and community right to build order (CRtBO).

In most cases, it is unlikely that an EIA will be required.

6. Evidence Base and Policy Development

EBPD scrutinises groups’ draft Neighbourhood Plan policies, supporting text, and evidence, either before or after Regulation 14 consultation. The aim of the support is to help ensure the final policies:

  • meet the Basic Conditions of Neighbourhood Planning,
  • are clearly written,
  • are justified by robust evidence,
  • are likely to withstand scrutiny at examination, and
  • prove effective in determining planning applications.

 

In order for EBPD support to take place, the group needs to have assembled emerging policies, and, (as a minimum) indications of supporting evidence.

7. Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA)

Where the local planning authority have confirmed a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is required for your neighbourhood plan, this package will provide evidence to integrate environmental considerations into the plan-making process, through a formal SEA and associated environmental report (that reports the outcomes of the SEA process).

Please check with your local planning authority whether they undertake this work on behalf of groups.

8. Masterplanning

The Masterplanning package provides a high level spatial plan for part of your neighbourhood area, setting out how you would like to see development or regeneration come forward.

9. Design including Design Codes

In this package, professional urban designers will work alongside groups, harnessing their ideas and local knowledge, to produce bespoke urban design guides or codes for potential development or regeneration sites.

10. Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA)

This support assists the groups to navigate a key regulatory process by providing the local planning authority with the evidence they need to draw conclusions regarding effects on internationally important wildlife sites. It will also assist the groups with removing any clashes with such sites (e.g. an adverse water quality effect on an international wildlife site from a proposed allocation in a draft neighbourhood plan) before they submit their plan to the local planning authority.

Please check with your local planning authority whether they undertake this work on behalf of groups.

11. Plan Health Check

The Health Check will look into whether your draft plan meets the basic conditions (conditions which must be met before the plan can be put forward to referendum and made) and provide advice on any potential amendments required to ensure the conditions are met, prior to submission of the plan to the local planning authority.

12. Facilitation for Designated Neighbourhood Forums and/or Groups in Deprived Areas

Designated neighbourhood forums and/or groups in deprived areas (where 30% or more of the neighbourhood area or population is in the 20% most deprived areas in England according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation) often face unique challenges in neighbourhood planning. This package is designed to support these groups in a range of ways to make the neighbourhood planning journey as smooth and efficient as possible. This includes (but is not limited to): establishing good governance within the group; support with engaging and managing consultants; developing a diverse and varied group membership; building good financial management (including budget setting); helping stalled groups to move forward; and establishing a road map of tasks that are required to progress towards having a made neighbourhood plan.

This package is available only to designated neighbourhood forums and groups in deprived areas.

All applications for Technical Support are presented to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to make a decision.