The Localism Bill completed its third reading – final chance to debate and change its contents – which began in the House of Lords on Monday 31 October.
Amendments about how local authorities are to respond to petitions from the public were discussed.
A proposal for a new clause requiring the Secretary of State to publish guidance on sustainable development, defining what it is and means in practice, and to promote the guidance to relevant authorities, such as local planning authorities and county councils were discussed.
The Localism Bill, which completed its report stage on Monday 17 October, contains provisions for local government and community empowerment, planning, housing and the governance of London.
Key elements include provisions:
- for community empowerment with powers to enable people to instigate local referendums on any issue, to approve or veto in a referendum a council tax increase deemed to be excessive, to express an interest in running local authority services and to provide local community groups with an opportunity to bid to buy assets of community value
- to abolish regional strategies, provide for neighbourhood plans, make pre-application consultation compulsory, make changes to planning enforcement and in relation to nationally significant infrastructure.
The purpose of the Bill was described in the Commons, where it started its progression through Parliament, as a ‘shake up in the balance of power in this country, revitalising local democracy and putting power back where it belongs, in the hands of the people.’
Draft National Planning Policy Framework
The draft National Planning Policy Framework is part of Government reforms to make the planning system less complex and more accessible, and to promote sustainable growth. The document sets out the Government’s requirements for the planning system, and provides a framework within which local people and their accountable councils can produce local and neighbourhood plans, which reflect the needs and priorities of their communities.
Third reading is the final chance to ‘tidy up’ a Bill and change its contents.