Lack of local councils in England is silencing communities, says NALC
Only 30% of England is currently served by a local (parish or town) council. The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) wants this number to increase so communities in England have a voice.
Just 16% of campaigns to create local councils in England have been successful. Although some of these campaigns failed through a lack of support from the community and lack of funding, NALC believes the majority of campaigns fail due to existing legislation and guidance, which makes creating a new council difficult for communities.
NALC wants the government to make setting up a council easier for communities. NALC believes if a community genuinely wants a local council to represent them, they should be allowed to have one. NALC is asking the government to make the process as simple as possible. It wants to see more local councils being created in areas of England with three layers of local government, and in urban metropolitan and unitary areas.
Cllr Sue Baxter, chairman of NALC, explains: "Currently communities that want to establish a council must go through a number of stages before a new council is even considered by a principal authority.
“It is a rigorous procedure with the final decision resting solely with the principal authority. Even if 100% of residents vote in favour of the creation of a new council, the principal authority has the final say.
“In recent years, areas which have delivered successful campaigns for new local councils have included Sheerness (Kent), Royal Sutton Coldfield (Birmingham) and Queen’s Park (London). Conversely, unsuccessful campaigns, have included Funtley (Hampshire) and New Hall (Derbyshire).”
“In at least one of these cases, a right of appeal for the campaign group to reverse an unfair decision would undoubtedly have helped evidence party political and unfair opposition to a well-run and non-party political campaign. This is why NALC still believes a right of appeal should be introduced.”
"NALC is calling for the government to reinforce its call for principal authorities to create more local councils and make it easier for communities to set them up – especially in areas with three layers of local government, and in unitary urban areas too.”
"NALC is urging the government to give a voice back to communities.”