Tuesday, 3 December 2013

"Helping to drive and deliver many localist actions such as the community rights, the general power of competence and neighbourhood planning."

From last week's National Association of Local Council's conference:

Local councils are doing even more for even less

NALC Media Release                   27th November 2013

Local councils are doing even more for even less

Today’s National Association of Local Councils (NALC) conference showed how local (parish and town) councils are helping to drive and deliver many localist actions such as the community rights, the general power of competence and neighbourhood planning.
These local councils are achieving all of this in a very challenging and tough economic climate. NALC supports this grassroots approach, which is moving forward, to grow and nurture our places.
Nick Boles MP, department of Communities and Local Government minister, said that neighbourhood planning was a brilliant way to break down the problems of modern politics, in that: “It is important decision making done by local people and communities rather done by someone elsewhere.”
Mr Boles MP continued: “Neighbourhood planning breaks down the barriers of the bureaucratic elite in that it is local people deciding on how the future design of communities should look like.”
Then the minister widened his thoughts on the state of local (parish and town) councils in country by stating that he “did not see why all the country (England) is not parished”. He sees local councils as the bedrock of local democracy.
Further on this theme, Cllr Ken Browse, chair of NALC, said: “We live in fast and moving times and its vital we keep up and local councils need to change. And they are changing. We are seeing a real grassroots revolution which makes these councils unrecognisable from their establishment.”
Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell, chair of the Local Government Association (LGA), said: “We want to see the re-wiring of public services where all tiers of local government and other public sectors work more closely in local areas. LGA sees this working very closely and in chime with NALC’s What Next for Localism inquiry (www.whatnextforlocalism.org).”
However local (parish and town) councils have been left angered by the government’s decision to make every principal (district, borough, county or unitary) negotiate council tax benefit deals with their parishes.
John Findlay, chief executive of NALC, said: “This breaks the golden thread of local councils which is of independent self-financing and not relying on another tier of local government on grants which is earmarked for them. We want the Government to take legislative action to enforce principal councils to pass on these grants to parishes on a mandatory basis.”
 Notes for Editors:
1. The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) is the nationally recognised membership body representing the interests of 9,000 local councils and their 80,000 local councillors in England.
2. Local (community, neighbourhood, parish, village and town) councils are statutory bodies and are the first tier of local government in England. They serve electorates ranging from small rural communities to towns and small cities; all are independently elected and raise a precept – a form of council tax – from the local community. Together, they can be identified as among the nation’s most influential grouping of grassroots opinion-formers.
3. Over 15 million people live in communities served by local councils, around 35% of the population.
4. Local councils work towards improving community well being and providing better services at a local level. Their activities fall into three main categories: representing the local community; delivering services to meet local needs; striving to improve quality of life and community well being.
5. Through an extensive range of discretionary powers local councils provide and maintain a variety of important and visible local services including allotments, bridleways, burial grounds, bus shelters, car parks, commons and open spaces, community transport schemes, community safety and crime reduction measures, events and festivals, footpaths, leisure and sports facilities, litter bins, public toilets, planning, street cleaning and lighting, tourism activities, traffic calming measures, village greens and youth projects.
These existing powers were recently strengthened by powers contained in the Localism Act including the extension of the general power of competence to eligible local councils.
6. Over 200 new local councils have been established in the last 13 years.
Local councils are doing even more for even less

Jonathan Glancey briefly explored Neighbourhood Plans on Radio 4 this morning: 

Image for Episode 3
Listen now28 mins
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Episode 3

Episode 3 of 3

Jonathan Glancey investigates the forces that shape our everyday architecture.

BBC Radio 4 - The Politics of Architecture, Episode 3
See: Futures Forum: The Politics of Architecture: choosing bricks and mortar

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