Thanks for your question, to which unfortunately there is no easy answer. There are a few Yorkshire groups which are on the COMA programme, however they are busy finishing using their support through the programme and preparing their end of year reports as this programme is drawing to a close in March 2016. We do however have a Champions Network which many of the groups have on COMA have signed up to, and so we may be able to provide some support through this network. There’s more information found here.
In terms of Neighbourhood Planning, all groups writing a neighbourhood plan or neighbourhood development order will be eligible to apply for up to £8,000 in grant as part of our package of support in the period 2015-2018. This can be accessed to undertake a range of activities (as outlined in the grant guidance notes, which you can access by clicking here).
Activities include: hiring consultants to help write project plans, helping to draft policies and other specialist activities, as well as other activities including printing costs and venue hire costs. The grant guidance also notes what activities are not eligible and also provides information on how to apply for grant support.
Groups facing a range of complex issues are able to apply for further support from the programme. This support can come in two forms:
• Technical support provided by AECOM – if a group are classed as complex there are a range of technical support packages that groups are able to apply for as and when they become needed. The packages of technical support include: undertaking a strategic environmental assessment, evidence base and policy review, and housing advice and assessment. Please see the grant guidance notes for the full list of technical support packages available.
• Groups are also be eligible to apply for a further grant of up to £6,000 giving a total grant ceiling of £14,000 in the period 2015-2018
Please see the grant guidance notes for criteria on whether or not a group can be considered complex. Groups need to meet one or more of the criteria. The criteria includes: if you are a Neighbourhood Forum (i.e. where there is no Town or Parish Council), if you are a Neighbourhood area with a highly diverse community, or if you are a Neighbourhood area which have a highly transient community. Please see the guidance note for the full list of criteria.
In terms of advice –
Locality also offers assistance through the MyCommunity advice line on 0300 020 1864 (Monday –Friday, 9.30am – 12.30pm), where you can contact the neighbourhood planning team for neighbourhood planning specific questions as you go through the neighbourhood plan process. You can of course also talk to our team about ACVs and Right to Bid for advice.
There is also, the neighbourhood planning area of the MyCommunity website (which you can access here and has a host of resources and toolkits available to help communities as they prepare neighbourhood plans. Some of the toolkits provide advice on how to undertake effective consultation, how to write plan policies, how to develop project plans and how to undertake housing needs assessments.
There are also resources around Right to Bid and ACVs which are on the MyCommunity website (which you can access here)
One of my colleagues will also give you a call separately to talk through your individual details offline, but hopefully this is helpful in the interim.