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PAS councillor briefing - localism (january 2011) - presentation with notes
 

PAS councillor briefing - localism (january 2011) - presentation with notes

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  • This is a presentation for the leadership academy, but we have also been requested to make several other presentations to councillors wanting to understand what it actually means for them, now.
  • We need to be more upfront with healthwarnings than usual. This stuff is new, and evolving. It’s also being worked through – some of these ideas are quite easy to say, but difficult to do in practice. We’ll start with the bill itself, and then finish up with what it means right now. You will have to take a view about how quickly / comprehensively you choose to take these ideas or directions forward.
  • Set the foundations for the Big Society by radically transforming the relationships between central government, local government, communities and individuals. Decisions should be taken as closely as possible to the people they affect. Localism can also mean allowing local people to set priorities and become involved in decisions about the future of their area. Devolve greater powers to councils and neighbourhoods and give local communities control over housing and planning decisions. Giving communities direct incentives to promote and support sustainable growth For planning, this is particularly a move away from the housing targets, seen as being imposed from the top.
  • As Greg Clark recently said in his speech to Localis…… it is about changing the terms of the debate on development and giving communities power, control and influence – then they can see the real tangible and financial benefits of accepting housing and employment development
  • While the exact details of the Government’s neighbourhood planning policy are still in development we certainly have a strong feel for the direction of travel and we have clauses for the Localism Bill that support that Direction of Travel. So what are the key principles – at their heart is genuine and active community engagement and empowerment and planning’s role as an enabler of change. There are some basic principles which have stayed consistent: reducing local authority decision-making on development and planning in neighbourhoods the ability for neighbourhoods to be self-defined (but within constraints) a neighbourhood-owned and community-iniated process – not an LPA led process (they are far more in a supportive role) creating a light-touch testing process, ensuring that examinations with public hearings will be the exception rather than the rule using the planning process and decentralisation to maximise creativity and innovation at a local level through the granting of pp it reduces the amount of small scale development in the planning system it is an entirely permissive regime – there is no requirement to have a neighbourhood plan– you can still apply for planning permission through the normal LPA application route
  • What can we say about a “neighbourhood” ? Allowed to be a minimum of 3. Not overlapping. LA has to agree them – should include assessment of how representative they are of the neighbourhood area – and arbitrate/decide where more than one are proposed. Issue over neighbourhoods overlapping authority boundaries? If one is agreed and set up but then challenged by a new one which thinks it can do better? Authorities are already getting requests from groups to be neighbourhoods (where no Parishes) Your basket – but it doesn’t have to hold other issues. This is about planning plans, not community plans.
  • NDP sets out policies for devel in the neighbourhood area. PC or neighbourhood forum gives pp through Neighbourhood development Order
  • LPA responsible for costs of examination and referendum LPA duty to advise and support – LPA to decide level and form of support both will have obvious resource implications – some money to be made available – but no details yet
  • LPA responsible for costs of examination and referendum LPA duty to advise and support – LPA to decide level and form of support both will have obvious resource implications – some money to be made available – but no details yet
  • Ensure your local plan is in place asap to set context for neighbourhood planning/ order Emph that the better your local plan – and the more involved the community are – the less anticipated demand for NDPs. Speakers at the London and Brum – working with communities to ensure Nhood plans / orders the exception rather than rule and focusing resources on better community engagement in loc plan.
  • LPA only have to respond to requests for help - themes not an issue for them. From events – suggestion to focus on ‘neighbourhood proofing’ loc plan work eg as part of Loc Plan work prepare area profiles in evidence base – better engagement in process – build capacity for community to engage in loc plan and nhood planning if necessary

PAS councillor briefing - localism (january 2011) - presentation with notes PAS councillor briefing - localism (january 2011) - presentation with notes Presentation Transcript

  • Planning post Localism Bill Councillor Briefing ver 1.1 Richard Crawley, Programme Manager Jan 2011 www.pas.gov.uk
  • In this session
    • Health warnings, caveats, notes
    • The Localism Bill + thoughts
      • Decentralisation
      • Planning reform
      • Neighbourhood plans
    • What does this mean for councillors right now ?
  • 1. Health warnings, etc.
    • This is a Bill, not an Act
      • Plain English guide to whole bill is http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/localgovernment/localismplainenglishguide
    • Expect change +++
      • This presentation is version 1.1 (Jan 2011)
    • LGA response is
      • http:// www.lga.gov.uk/lga/core/page.do?pageId =15692252 see also http://www.lga.gov.uk/lga/tio/15927262
  • 1. Health warnings, etc.
    • Credit to
      • CLG for several slides (Dec 2010)
      • TCPA “Participation in planning” Greg Clark speech (Nov 2010)
    • Localism <> Local Governmentalism
      • Our view is potentially partisan!
    • Many events …
  • Why decentralisation? So that: People and communities have greater control over the services in their locality People can hold local services and institutions to account more effectively than Whitehall Front line professionals respond to local preferences, with fewer constraints from the centre Diversity in local approaches releases innovation in public services – speed and resilience
    • “ When people know that they will get proper support to cope with the demands of new development; when they have a proper say over what new homes will look like; and when they can influence where those homes go, they have reasons to say “yes” to growth .”
    • Greg Clark MP, 18/11/10
  • Why decentralisation ?
    • “ I think that people should be able to make real choices about planning – much as they should be able to make choices in relation to healthcare or education – as a matter of principle ” – Greg Clark at TCPA
    • But planning is about the longer-term, broader good.
      • The people feeling the impact may not yet be resident. They may not yet be born.
      • Individual choice <> communal consensus
      • Land allocations do not guarantee a local shop !
  • Why decentralisation ?
    • “ We want to hand over power and responsibility so that local communities have real choices, and experience the real consequences of those choices ” – Greg Clark at TCPA (my emphasis)
    • Planning is a slow burn – consequences take decades ?
    • Different interests may compete. Is it sensible to assume that the community will make a choice and acknowledge consensus ?
  • Planning Reform Agenda Community Right to Build Neighbourhood Plans Local Plans National Policy Incentives
  • Planning reform agenda (1)
    • Above and beyond councils:
      • National policy framework changing (shrinking ?)
      • Post RSS new ways to collaborate on sub-regional issues
      • LEPs and regional growth
      • Regional and large-scale infrastructure cooperation
  • Planning reform agenda (2)
    • Councils must still own the local strategic agenda
      • evidence-based policy; plan-led system
    • LDF now the “Local Plan”,
    • Planning inspectorate as arbiter.
    • £
      • Community Infrastructure Levy / Section 106
      • New homes bonus
      • Fees and charges
  • Planning reform agenda (3)
    • The bulk of the planning system remains
      • Incremental improvement to system still acknowledged as sensible / necessary
      • We are still understanding its strengths & weaknesses
      • We have been focussing on core strategy adoption. Review and other DPDs not so well served.
    • Chose the right tool for the job – neighbourhood plans are for local issues
    • The Government is giving neighbourhoods far more ability to determine the shape of the places in which people live through ‘neighbourhood plans’.
      • Empower communities to take control
      • Neighbourhood not local planning authority led.
      • Light-touch process
      • Inspire innovation and creativity
      • Exploring ways of enabling small scale community development.
      • Permissive regime
    Planning at neighbourhood level
  • Neighbourhood plans
    • “ Neighbourhood plans”
      • Created by a “neighbourhood”
        • Either a Parish Council or a Neighbourhood Forum
        • Checks and balances required
      • Likely to be a variable bunch, reflecting place and likely scale of development
        • Checks and balances required
      • Permit more, not reduce to less
        • Checks and balances required
      • A basket to hold lots of issues, not just planning. A mini SCS ?
  • Neighbourhood plans
    • The plan is implemented through:
      • Affecting planning application process
        • Neighbourhood plan = material consideration
      • Removing development from the need for permission altogether
        • Through neighbourhood development order
          • One type is called the Community right To Build (CrTB)
        • Also confer PD rights, either entirely or outline
      • Also has cumulative impact through
        • Design codes, conditions for materials / appearance
        • Acting as consultation channel ?
        • Other innovations not yet thought of ?
  • Neighbourhood plans
    • It is a “proper” plan – statutory – weighty
    • But in return, it has to play by the rules
      • Domestic context: Regard to national policies, fair, consultative, neighbourly, scrutiny
      • EU context : Environment Impact Assessment, human rights,
    • Council to “support” and “advise” but not “do”.
    • Note
      • Cannot compete – one neighbourhood to an area
      • Referendum required
      • LA has to adopt it – no choice*
  • How is the Neighbourhood Plan prepared ? Plan prepared by local communities with council providing support and advice Examined by independent examiner considering fit with local development plan, national policy and alignment with other neighbouring plans – leading to non-binding report Extensive community engagement Neighbourhood Plan Adopted by local authority Process instigated by parish council or Neighbourhood Forum Referendum seeking adoption. Simple majority in favour to progress to adoption Proceed to referendum Legal Compliance Neighbourhood plans must comply with a number of EU Directives (e.g. Environmental Impact Assessment, Habitats Directive) and ECHR. Local Authority Support Local Authorities must provide support and advice to parishes or forums preparing a plan. Referendum Referendum area can be wider than neighbourhood – if proposals impact on others
  • Neighbourhood plans
    • For example
      • Town centres
      • Implementation details for larger / longer schemes
      • Community-owned assets
        • See also Community Land Trust http:// www.communitylandtrusts.org.uk /
  • Neighbourhood plans
    • Lots still to iron out
      • Who is responsible for costs ?
      • Who defends its policies against challenge?
      • How do you work out “permissive” ?
      • How does the plan learn / adapt ?
    • What sort of coverage ?
      • Total, at ward level …
      • Total, at sub-ward level …
      • Partial, and only when it suits …
  • 3. So what (now) ?
    • Keep calm, and carry on:
    • Continue with strategic policy (core strategy)
    • Ensure that policy is owned by leadership. It sets context to more local plans. What is the deadline ?
    • You may need a “super” plan to reflect sub-regional issues (waste, water, employment)
      • Do you have a LEP ?
    • CIL, new homes bonus, assets, infrastructure more generally
  • 3. So what (now) ?
    • Manage expectations:
    • What do you say to neighbourhoods ? How ?
    • What sort of help might they need and are you resourced to provide it ?
    • Are you clear what type of areas and themes are suitable for neighbourhood plans ?
      • Three versions already in circulation
  • To summarise
    • This is early / new / evolving / variable
    • You *must* provide a strategic context. This will not come from a patchwork of NDPs.
    • Neighbourhood planning is another tool, alongside Town and Country Planning Act
    • It is to *promote* development and change
    • It must allow people to feel the benefit
    • Councils (and councillors) lose some powers to say “no”, but gain local buy-in
  • Contact us email [email_address] web www.pas.gov.uk phone 020 7664 3000