The Localism Act received Royal Assent in November 2011 and became law in April 2012.
The aim of the act is to reduce central government control and shift control to local authorities, communities and individuals, empowering communities to be involved in the decisions that affect their local area.
It offers new freedoms and flexibilities for local government, new rights and powers for communities and individuals and reforms to the planning system.
One of the most important features of the Act are the Community Rights which gives communities the power to own, build and/or manage their own assets and developments and take action on local services:
These are the
- Community Right to Bid
- Community Right to Challenge
- Community Right to Build
- Community Right to Reclaim Land
The Act also encompasses widescale planning system reform, including:
- abolition of regional policy & housing targets
- introduction of NPPF
- introduction of Neighbourhood Planning
- giving communities the power to decide where development in their local area should go e.g. housing, shops & facilities
- enabling local people to create a shared vision and set local priorities for their area
The Department for Communities and Local Government, which is the lead department for Localism and Community Rights, have published a new guide to Community Rights which you can download from their website.