Communities can be the local future

National Association of Local Councils' (NALC) Communities Can conference on 2 December 2015 showed how local (parish and town) councils are using regeneration to play a role in the economic development of their town centres in a time of financial challenges and opportunities.

These local councils are achieving all of this in a very challenging economic climate. NALC supports this grassroots approach, which is moving forward, to grow and nurture our places.

Brandon Lewis MP, minister, Department of Communities and Local Government for Government (DCLG), said: “We want more people to have the opportunity to buy their own homes through the Right to Buy and Shared Ownership schemes. Equally, housing supply is very important for this country to get more people on the housing ladder especially for first time buyers. So we want more houses built in villages, towns and cities.”

“The government wants the planning process to be speeded up and more locally focussed.”

“So we are going to make neighbourhood planning easier and quicker. This is localism in its truest essence. Through neighbourhood planning, people can come together to decide what is right for them in terms of development. Neighbourhood planning is focussed on homes being built in the right places. Neighbourhood planning offers protection to communities that the right development is happening in their local area.

Cllr Ken Browse, chair of NALC, commented: “We live in fast moving times and it’s 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. And that is why we are asking all political parties to recognise the value of true localism and devolution in any policies they deliver during this parliament and there potential in economic regeneration.”

Cllr Paul Harvey, vice-chair of NALC’s Larger Local Councils Committee, said: “The theme of today’s event was exploring and promoting the impact of local councils can make to the local economic development during a time of austerity. The event showed how local councils could achieve this throughout the day.

“As we know things will be just as tight financially for local councils during this parliament as they were during the last. The Government expects councils to take on more services and manage more assets at a time of tightened purse strings. But we want the government to give local councils the scope and latitude to do this.”

Janet Askew, president, Royal Town Planning Institute, said: “Good planning makes a good place. So naturally from this local people should be able to decide where planning happens in their community. However we feel at the moment that neighbourhood planning is too complicated and intricate for masses of people to get involved with. So we urge the simplification of neighbourhood planning. But there are some areas without local plans so virtually making neighbourhood planning in those areas redundant.”

For presentations please read here

Media Watch | 40
Media Watch | 39

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