INDUSTRY NEWS

Govt extends planning aid

Communities secretary, Hazel Blears, has announced an expansion of the Planning Aid system, which gives local people a role in the planning process.

It hopes to help community groups further understand the planning process and communicate their views more clearly.

Ms Blears said creating opportunities for community participation "is not enough by itself".

"We need also to do more to support local communities and individuals, particularly those least able to put forward their case, with the advice and skills they need to engage effectively, which is where this new funding will provide direct help."

The scheme offers free advice to everyone and specifically helps those on benefits and low incomes to voice their concerns, the Communities and Local Government department has claimed.

Planning Aid covers planning applications, local authority planning policies and national strategies.

Proposals for new commercial property in London pass through a complex series of consultations with local residents, councils and interested groups before construction begins.

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