If you regularly read this blog, you will no doubt be aware that the Localism Act received Royal Assent in November 2011.
As the Government states; “[the Act] takes power from central government and hands it back to local authorities and communities – giving them the freedom and flexibility to achieve their own ambitions”.
The majority of the Act has now been brought into fruition with the remainder coming into force in April 2012. Quite a significant chunk of the legislation related to public administration mechanisms and has little impact on the planning system, such as accountability of local pay, reforms to social housing regulations and the ‘Freeing Cities’ initiative.
The big news for planners comes with modification to enforcement procedures which will bring in new powers for Local Authorities to take action against those who deliberately conceal unauthorised development.
Local Councillors will also be pleased to know that the rules on ‘predetermination’ have been clarified; freeing councillors to express their opinions for local issues without the fear of legal challenge.