Localism Act

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.

Related stories

A new report has identified a mixed impact of Neighbourhood Planning since the concept's introduction as part of the Government's Localism drive in the last Parliament. It also charts a significant recent rise in new housing in Neighbourhood Planning areas.

The Rural Services Network, a coalition of 260 member organisations, has published a comprehensive Manifesto for Rural England, calling on the next Government to take on a programme of action which would address the needs of rural communities across all departments and not leave it to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs alone.

Rural communities are being urged to plan for their future, by seizing new opportunities to protect the buildings and businesses which play a vital role in local life.  The charity Rural Action Yorkshire wants to raise awareness of new rights within the Localism Act and wants more villages to consider what they value and what their future needs are.

Pioneering residents who want to shape development in their communities need to jump through hoops before they can get their hands on Government cash incentives, warn rural charities ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) and Rural Action Yorkshire.

The Communities and Local Government Parliamentary Select Committee has launched an inquiry into the use of Community Rights and whether the legislation behind them is operating effectively. Rural Action Yorkshire is asking for the communities in our area to let us know their thoughts so that we can ensure the rural perspective is heard by this inquiry. The deadline for letting us know your views is Friday 22 August 2014 so that we and our parent organisation ACRE have time to submit a response before the Inquiry deadline of Thursday 4 September.

Over the past few months Rural Action Yorkshire (RAY) has been developing a Rural Strategy to review the state of rural Yorkshire, highlight potential opportunities and challenges and suggest priority areas for future activity, both for us and for other organisations working in rural Yorkshire. We have been working in partnership with Humber and Wolds RCC to ensure we are able to present issues and ideas that have resonance across the whole of Yorkshire.

Join this free webinar to hear from and discuss with programme manager Ruth Townsley and senior community organisers and find out how you can access community organising locally. Over 400 community organisers have already been recruited and over 400 community projects supported.

For more information and to register, visit the Locality website.

Lyn Kesterton of Locality and Jo Gooding at the Co-housing network will discuss the Community Led Project Support Programme which provides funding to help groups to work up their development proposals, consult with the local community and submit a Community Right to Build Order or progress a community led development via the traditional Planning Application route.

For more details and to register, visit the Locality website.

This webinar with Anton Schultz of Locality will give an overview of community asset acquisition – the legal and practical considerations.

It will start you thinking about business planning for community asset projects and securing support and investment for asset projects to improve and develop them further.

For more details and to register visit the Locality website.

This free online training session is aimed at communities already undertaking Neighbourghood Planning or who are interested in Neighbourhood Planning and want to learn more from those who have already pioneered the approach.

Find out more and register for your place via the Locality website.

Would you like to help RAY plan our future work? Do you know lots about your community building, the needs of your residents or just enjoy thinking through new solutions for rural issues? Then we would love to hear from you.

The Eden Project, which is one of the designated national organisations working with the Department for Communities and Local Government to support communities put a Neighbourhood Plan in place, is organising residential Neighbourhood Planning Camps in Spring 2014, one in York and one in Oxford.

The Eden Project, which is one of the designated national organisations working with the Department for Communities and Local Government to support communities put a Neighbourhood Plan in place, is organising residential Neighbourhood Planning Camps in Spring 2014, one in York and one in Oxford.

The Eden Project, which is one of the designated national organisations working with the Department for Communities and Local Government to support communities put a Neighbourhood Plan in place, is organising residential Neighbourhood Planning Camps in Spring 2014, one in York and one in Oxford.

The Government has published its response to a parliamentary report that criticised its treatment of rural areas. The Government claims that the statistics used in the report were misleading. The Government response has disappointed rural campaigners, including Rural Action Yorkshire's umbrella organisation, ACRE.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has published a new guide to the community rights introduced in the Localism Act 2011.

City of York Council has received an application to designate Copmanthorpe Parish as a Neighbourhood Areas and is seeking views on the application. The consultation runs until 6 November 2013.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) is currently undertaking a major review of its planning policies. This will result in a new Local Plan that will guide all planning decisions in the National Park from 2015 to 2030. A consultation on initial options for the new Local Plan is currently open until 28 October 2013.

Planning Minister Nick Boles has claimed that the "shoddy form of representation" of National Park Authorities prevents local communities from being properly involved in their management, and says that Neighbourhood Planning is offering people a more democratic way of expressing their views.

Action With Communities in Rural England (ACRE), the umbrella body for the country's Rural Community Councils, including Rural Action Yorkshire, has published its annual report detailing how it has spent grant money allocated to it by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) during 2012-13. The report shows that £2.8m of government money has enabled a further £8.4m of funding to benefit rural communities across the country.