Localism is here, giving power to communities to shape the future of the places where they live, work and play. The Government’s Localism Act has devolved power to local Government to set out their strategy allowing local communities to make local decisions.
The Localism Bill 2010-11 became law on 15th November and amongst other things it will:
- Abolish Regional Spatial Strategies
- Amend the Community Infrastructure Levy, which allows councils to charge developers to pay for infrastructure. Some of the revenue will be available for the local community to utilise
- Provide for neighbourhood plans, which would be approved if they received 50% of the votes cast in a referendum
- Provide for neighbourhood development orders to allow communities to approve development without requiring normal planning consent
Shenstone Parish Council, agreed each neighbourhood (Shenstone, Little Aston and Stonnall) should develop their own plan in alignment with Lichfield District Council strategy.
A Neighbourhood Plan is a document setting out how we, the community, want to see the neighbourhood develop over the next 15 years.
It can cover a range of issues, and gives us a recognised voice. The Neighbourhood Plan documents the socio-economic and environmental issues of a community and its proposed remedies and actions.
The plan will include a vision for the future, an expression of the residents’ views and an action plan detailing how these developments can be achieved. It will outline how the parishioners, and local government (at all levels) and local service providers can act to deliver the plan addressing the residents’ wishes.
Well researched and structured Neighbourhood Plans with actions highlighting how the parish priorities fit with wider government priorities (including housing needs), are more effective at engaging their mainstream providers (local authorities) than those focused purely on a local audience.
For the plan to be effective, it needs to have weight, it needs to be able to demonstrate that all of the community have had an opportunity to give their input, and that the key conclusions are those of the community and not personal opinions of the authors.
What happens if we don’t put a Neighbourhood Plan in place? The simple answer is nothing. The existing system is maintained whereby decisions on our future are made by Lichfield District Council as opposed to the members of our community. This is an unparalleled opportunity to bring power back to local people.
The Neighbourhood Plan must be aligned with related policies set out in the local authority’s strategic plan and local strategic partnerships;
- Community – Facilities for the young/elderly
- Transport/roads & parking
- Leisure & recreation
- Local industry & Commerce
- Local services:
- Post office
- Environment, energy and sustainability