A formal letter from the minister, Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, has been received by the Institute, which states that the RTPI Planning Aid England contract and funding will not be continued beyond the 31st March 2011. We have also met with officials at the Department of Communities and Local Government (CLG) to discuss the future for Planning Aid England beyond this date.
During the meeting, CLG officials said the government would be making available money for 'neighbourhood planning' for parties to bid for and that it was hoped that Planning Aid England would want to be part of this new approach. The letter signed by Greg Clark also makes this point and states \"… I very much hope that Planning Aid will feel able to be part of this new approach, building upon its excellent work supporting the community to date\".
Clearly CLG are looking for a different model to support neighbourhood planning. We have made it very clear to CLG that it is critical that information about the fund is made available as a matter of urgency so that we have the necessary time to put together a bid for these funds and be clear about the outcome well before the end of March 2011.
Whilst this was not the news we had all been hoping for, we know we share a common aim with our many stakeholders, clients and volunteers, to see the service and support for communities continue after the end of March, albeit in a different form. We shall continue to look at all options and possible funding streams including the CLG fund once details are known.