Localism Act 2011

The Localism Act has received Royal assent and from the 1st April 2012 the whole Act has become law.

The Localism Act encompasses many aspects of local government business but this website is concerned only with that part of the Act to do with planning. This is summarised as follows:-

Plans and Strategies.

Regional Spatial Strategies will be abolished. Top down government targets are dropped and Local Planning Authorities will be responsible for making their own assessment of the number of homes required and the amount of employment space to be planned for.

Local councils will have a duty to cooperate with neighbouring authorities over issues such as local plans, strategic matters and infrastructure where two or more local authorities are affected. Not only must they carry out this function on an on going basis but must be seen to do so constructively and engage the community.

Community Infrastructure Levy

Changes make it possible for local authorities to use part of the infrastructure levy placed on developments to be spent in the local neighbourhood.

 Neighbourhood Planning

The local community can decide on how and where they think development should be carried out in their area.  This process would be led (in Yateley) by the town council with a steering group formed by business groups, civic groups, residents and other interested parties. Any plans and development must, however, be in accordance with the Hart Core Strategy.  The Neighbourhood Plan would need to be voted on in a local referendum and then assessed by an independent inspector after which it will become part of the Local Plan. Any significant changes would then need to be voted on by referendum.

Enforcement.

Local authorities will have greater powers to act against illegal developments and retrospective planning applications.           

Nationally significant infrastructure projects.

Infrastructure projects will be handled direct by the Planning Inspectorate with nationally significant projects under the control of the Secretary of State.

Pre-application consultation

Developers will have to consult with local residents before a planning application is submitted. They do not, however, have to advise the council but will need to take notice of the councils pre-planning advice if available. Developers will have to demonstrate that they have given consideration to residents views. Failure to consult adequately could lead to legal challenges and put developments at risk.

Predetermination

Elected councillors will now be able to engage with developments openly and be proactive in their support of local residents. They will, however, still be expected to have an open mind in committee before voting.