Locality, the community development body, has been appointed by the government to run a £9.5m neighbourhood planning project.
The Department for Communities and Local Government has awarded the contract for its Neighbourhood Planning programme to Locality, in partnership with the Royal Town Planning Institute, Planning Aid England, the Community Development Foundation, the planning consultants Urban Vision Enterprise, the Eden Project and the engineering and technical services company URS.
The two-year programme, which starts on 1 May, will receive £9.5m in funding from the DCLG to help people in England to create neighbourhood plans, which allow groups of residents to shape development in their local area, by dictating the location of new housing and businesses.
About £5.5m of the funding will be used to pay Locality and a range of subcontractors, including RTPI and Planning Aid England, on a payment-by-results basis to provide direct support to residents groups.
Direct support will be tailored to the needs of individual groups and can be delivered in a range of ways, such as training in skills such as policy writing and legal requirements, remote advice and face-to-face advice.
A further 40 per cent of the funding, which will be managed by the Community Development Foundation, will be directly available to residents groups to contribute towards the costs of preparing their neighbourhood plan proposals, said Locality. Groups will be able to bid for funding, worth up to £7,000 per group, through My Community Rights, a website run by Locality.
The remaining funding would be used for shared learning activities, provided by subcontractors including the Eden Project.
Steve Wyler, chief executive of Locality, said: "Locality has experience of working with pioneering groups to design their own neighbourhood plans. This is an exciting opportunity, with guidance and grants enabling many more people to design their own environments and create sustainable solutions which meet the needs of those who live there."