Fisher German's newest Senior Planner, Melissa Balk, has urged the newly-elected Conservative government to honour its pledge to support an ambitious planning scheme which could massively improve towns across the country.
The ‘My Town’ scheme, announced by Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick just before the general election was called, will give up to £25 million to 100 areas to improve their transport links, broadband connectivity, skills and culture.
The scheme also invites local people to contribute ambitious ideas to improve their towns, giving them more of a say in future building plans with the intention of ‘levelling-up’ the country.
Three-quarters of the locations eligible for funding are either in the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ or ‘Midlands Engine’, giving them a chance to catch up with London and the south-east and reducing the north-south divide.
Now a new government has been elected, Melissa thinks My Town was a plan that should be carried on.
She said: “We urge the government to honour the pledge it made before the general election and continue with the My Town scheme.
"This scheme is in its very early stages, but this is a plan with huge potential for many of our towns – especially in the Midlands and the North.
“Planning is very under-resourced at the moment, so My Town is a great way to get local people more involved in the planning process, and also retain that involvement beyond this first consultation.
"The scheme was thrown into real uncertainty because of the general election, but we’re really hoping the new government will fully support My Town.
"This is a real chance to improve towns and communities with ideas directly contributed by the people in those places.
"Fisher German will be able to advise landowners looking to either build on their land or sell their land off for development through this scheme, and can also advise local people on the viability of their ideas.”
Although it is not yet clear exactly how My Town will operate, Melissa still said it was worth supporting.
She added: “Even if the scheme was to continue, there is still a degree of uncertainty surrounding the project. We are not sure exactly how the funds will be allocated to each town – for example, will it depend on the ideas submitted, or on how active the local community are?
"But we are confident it is a plan that will have plenty of positive effects for local communities.
"We will be following the progress of the scheme closely, and once more details emerge, we will be on hand to give local people and landowners advice should they need it.”
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