SOLIHULL council tax payers in Solihull could be left to foot a bill for tens of thousands of pounds as local communities are given the opportunity create their own Neighbourhood Plans.
As part of the Localism Act, Neighbourhood Planning came into effect in April to give communities more say over local planning.
Local authorities must organise and pay for an independent examination and local referendum for all potential plans, estimated to cost between £20,000 and £86,000 by completion.
Councillor Ian Courts, (Con, Dorridge and Hockley Heath) told last week’s cabinet meeting: “Cost is a big issue. It will cost £20,000 or more and there is no guarantee of a result.
“It doesn’t mean less development and if there was a great demand for this, we might be in trouble.”
Neighbourhood Planning is split into three routes; Neighbourhood Development Plans, to be agreed by the council, which would guide planning in a defined area, Neighbourhood Development Orders, which allow certain types of development within a defined area without the need for planing permission and a Community Right to Build Order to allow site specific developments without planning permission.
The Council has already received four enquiries about Neighbourhood Planning and Coun Robert Sleigh, (Con, Bickenhill) told the meeting, his ward’s parish council were keen to seize the opportunity.
“It would cost at least £40,000 to put it together, at cost to them and us, but it gives a local voice. It’s a practical demonstration of uncle Eric’s (Pickles) localism.”