The Localism Bill

It is clearly evident that significant objections by a considerable number of residents have been submitted to the Council.  These appear to have had little influence on the Council’s strategy for the East Ipswich Plan Area.  The views of local people have seemingly had no perceivable impact.  We believe that the current methodology used by the Council to achieve community engagement is deeply flawed when considered against the Coalition’s objectives.  Whilst it must be recognised that the Localism Bill has not yet gone through Parliament it clearly must be considered by Local Planning Authorities when they are preparing their Local Development Documents.  SCDC have made no changes to their community involvement processes in response to the Localism Bill, which places great emphasis on ‘community engagement’.

Here are some links to the Government’s Localism Bill which will affect the future behaviour of Local Authorities.

Number 10 says: The Bill would devolve greater powers to councils and neighbourhoods and give local communities control over housing and planning decisions. The main benefits of the Bill would be:

  • Empowering local people.
  • Freeing local government from central and regional control.
  • Giving local communities a real share in local growth.
  • A more efficient and more local planning system.

The Comminique Blog in Decentralisation and Localism Bill: A Leap Towards Big Society? says “The Bill is certainly radical if nothing else and invites communities and their elected representatives to be proactive in shaping the development of their area and the benefits that it gains as a result. By combining the measures with large cuts to Council budgets, the Government is creating a system whereby those who take up the challenge will reap the rewards (through planning gain and more homes) and those who do not live with the consequences (in higher council tax, cuts to services and fewer homes).

That is the theory – but many developers are concerned that the measures will result in fewer homes being built which would damage the house building industry. It will take some time for the Bill to be enacted; however, it is part of the Government’s drive towards The Big Society and so any changes the development industry can make are likely to be to the detail of the Bill and not to its principle.”

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