Howell to help more communities fight off developers

Boris Johnson and John Howell MP met in Thame
Boris Johnson and John Howell MP met in Thame

Thame MP John Howell has taken up a new role assisting the government with the roll-out of neighbourhood plans which were first introduced in his constituency.

The appointment was announced during parliamentary questions to the communities and local government team yesterday.

Neighbourhood plans allow residents to draw up their own proposals for where development should go.

Mr Howell, who was also re-elected to be a member of the Justice Select Committee, said: “I am very excited to be taking on this role at a crucial time in the development of Neighbourhood Plans.

“In my own constituency, Thame and Woodcote already have their plans and I hope Henley will soon follow.

“They are an excellent way for communities to play a major role in the planning system and help shape the future of those communities.”

Confirming his appointment in the Commons, Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government said Mr Howell was ‘a pioneer of neighbourhood planning’.

Mr Clark added: “He worked closely with me when I was last a Minister in the Department to ensure that it was introduced, and it has been a huge success. The first neighbourhood plan was in Thame, in his constituency.

“More than 1,500 communities are now engaged in the neighbourhood planning process, and 300 neighbourhood plans have been published for consultation.

“I am delighted that my hon. Friend has accepted my invitation to work with me to see what we can do to speed up the possibilities for other neighbourhoods throughout the country.