Social distancing and social isolation has changed all our lives, but in order to save lives we do need to adhere to the governments’ advice.

Does this mean that you need to put your neighbourhood planning activities on hold or, if you have not started a plan put the idea on the back burner?

No you don’t…  you can keep the momentum going and carry on!

Plan making is collaborative, so you will need to consider how you can connect with other interested people in your community safely. There are plenty of online conferencing services such as Skype and Zoom that you can use for meetings.

We are offering a free 40 minute consultation to set you on the right road, using Zoom conferencing. See how easy it is!

Recruiting members to a working group, ensuring your community understands the process and supports the development of a Neighbourhood Plan is key. Use different forms of social media to convey messages such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, community websites and Instagram.

Accessing Funding

The government have set aside millions to support communities undertake a neighbourhood plan. A new round of grant funding has been launched with an increase in the basic grant from £9k to £10k

https://neighbourhoodplanning.org

Remember that you can apply for the cost of any online tools that may charge a subscription as part of a grant application.

Technical Support programme (e.g. Housing Need Assessments)

AECOM will continue to work on technical support packages, though they may contact you to notify you of any changes to the way they will be working.

Consultation and engagement

We would not recommend paper surveys or other paper documentation being cascaded out to your community. You can use online tools such as Survey Monkey for formulating questionnaires that can be completed electronically.

Do remember that for some people completing online questionnaires will not be possible, use of the telephone could be an alternative option here.

Have a plan in the making?

If your plan is underway keep abreast of government guidelines. You may be aware that no neighbourhood planning referendums can take place until 6 May 2021. These provisions will be kept under review. The regulations can be found here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/395/contents/made

Neighbourhood plans awaiting referendums can be given significant weight in decision-making. Guidance updated on 13th May explains that regulatory requirements, including at Regulation 14 and 16 can still be met without face to face engagement events – albeit with extra focus required to engage groups without internet access.

Through our consultancy service Community Lincs/ YMCA  are able to design questionnaires and undertake analysis on your behalf.

For more information contact Janet Clark at janet.clark@lincsymca.co.uk or call 01529 301962.

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