Business-led neighbourhood planning has the capacity to be a very powerful tool in helping to support the long-term vitality and viability of town centres.
However, from my experience of working with the DCLG Town Teams programme, its potential remains largely untapped (‘Can business-led planning pioneered by Milton Keynes work elsewhere?’ 22.05.15).
I find it disappointing that many people are seemingly uninterested in understanding how the planning system can be used to assist their towns, seeing it instead as simply a barrier.
What the central Milton Keynes plan demonstrates is that neighbourhood plans can be used to set a clear blueprint for change. This will not only assist existing businesses, but provide greater certainty to help attract new inward investment and businesses.
I would challenge businesses to take the time to learn about the potential neighbourhood plans provide. I would also like to see local councils’ planning or economic development officers championing neighbourhood planning within their town centres.
The business-led neighbourhood plan nettle should be grasped before the opportunity is missed.
Dominick Veasey, associate, Nexus Planning