UK: Planning Act Blog 195: Localism Bill on Thursday as Government Confused over Contents

Last Updated: 8 December 2010
Article by Angus Walker

This is entry number 195, first published on 7 December 2010, of a blog on the implementation of the Planning Act 2008. Click here for a link to the whole blog. If you would like to be notified when the blog is updated, with links sent by email, click here.

Today's entry reports on the latest timing and contents of the forthcoming Localism Bill.

The keenly awaited Localism Bill (the word Decentralisation having been dropped from the title some time ago) will introduce the first significant changes to the regime for authorising major infrastructure established by the Planning Act 2008, as well as many other measures. It is rumoured to have around 200 clauses.

The Bill is expected to be published on Thursday 9 December. This is somewhat later than the date that was originally expected of 22 November, and indeed later than CLG's Structural Reform Plan date of November 2010 (despite their protestations that no date had been set).

CLG have mentioned the delay in their November update on the Structural Reform Plan, but by mistake their references to the Bill contents are not taken from the Structural Reform Plan itself, but from their draft Business Plan, which is still out to consultation. The two lists do not quite match, but I suspect that the Bill will contain all the things in both lists, and other things besides.

Here is the list from the Structural Reform Plan, with an * against those that are also listed in the draft Business Plan:

  • *1.1 Decentralise power as far as possible through the Localism Bill: (a) give councils a general power of competence; (b) abolish the Standards Board; (c) give communities powers to save local facilities threatened with closure; (d) give communities the right to bid to take over local state-run services
  • *1.2 Identify and implement measures to allow councils to return to the committee system, should they wish to, as part of the Localism Bill
  • 1.4 iii Empower authorities and businesses to come together and form new partnerships - Introduce legislation as appropriate through the Localism Bill
  • 2.1 Meet people's housing aspirations by streamlining and speeding up the planning system, through the Localism Bill, including: (a) creating local housing trusts; *(b) abolishing Home Information Packs; *(c) scrapping 'pay as you throw' rubbish schemes
  • 2.3 ii Increase mobility among social housing tenants to make social housing more flexible - introduce legislation as appropriate through the Localism Bill
  • 2.8 Develop options for the Housing Revenue Account, including voluntary arrangements, through the Localism Bill
  • *3.1 Replace the Infrastructure Planning Commission with an efficient and democratically accountable system that provides a fast-track process for major infrastructure projects, through the Localism Bill
  • *3.2 Radically reform the planning system to give neighbourhoods much greater ability to determine the shape of the places in which their inhabitants live, based on the principles set out in the Conservative Party publication "Open Source Planning". Local Planning Authorities able to begin working in new ways on local plans in advance of the passing of the Localism Bill; i. Create a presumption in favour of sustainable development
  • 3.3 Maintain the Green Belt, Sites of Special Scientific Interest and other environmental protections, and create a new designation to protect green areas of particular importance to local communities, as part of the Localism Bill
  • *3.4 ii Abolish requirement for Regional Strategies through the Localism Bill
  • *4.1 Legislate through the Localism Bill for directly elected Mayors to enable the largest 12 cities in England to have Mayors from 2012, subject to confirmatory referenda and full scrutiny by elected councillors
  • *4.6 Give residents the power to instigate local referendums on any local issue and to veto excessive council tax increases, through the Localism Bill
  • *5.9 Give councillors the power to vote on large salary packages for unelected council officials

On the other hand, the draft Business Plan gives the following (and again there is an * against those that appear on both lists):

Introduce the Localism Bill to implement the following actions:

  • *1.2 ii, directly elected Mayors
  • 2.1 ii, measures to reinvigorate local accountability, democracy and participation
  • 2.4 v, closure of Regional Development Agencies
  • 4.1 ii, social housing measures
  • *4.3 iii, abolition of Home Information Packs
  • *4.5 v, reform of the Housing Revenue Account
  • 4.6 ii, home swap measures to increase mobility among social housing tenants
  • 4.10 ii, abolition of the Tenant Services Authority
  • *5.1 v, reform of the planning system
  • *5.3 ii, repeal of Regional Strategies and introduction of a duty to co-operate for local authorities
  • *5.4 ii, abolition of the Infrastructure Planning Commission

The draft Business Plan also gives the following. This is described as 'complete' in the Structural Reform Plan update, given that the draft Business Plan only requires them to draft, rather than introduce, these measures. If they had taken the measures from the correct source they would have had to list these as delayed as well.

Draft legislation to:

  • *a. Give councils a general power of competence
  • *b. Give residents the power to instigate local referendums on any local issue
  • *c. Give residents the power to veto excessive Council Tax increases
  • d. Give local businesses the power to veto supplementary business rates
  • *e. Increase transparency and local democratic accountability over decisions on local government senior pay
  • *f. Scrap bin taxes
  • *g. Abolish the Standards Board regime
  • *h. Allow councils to return to the committee system should they wish to
  • *i. Give communities the right to save local facilities threatened with closure
  • *j. Give communities the right to bid to take over local state-run services

I previously set out the rumours and leaks of what the Bill was going to contain on its previous due date of 22 November in this blog entry. Here are the items from that entry that are not listed above explicitly - will they be included?

  • require National Policy Statements (NPSs) to be approved by a vote in Parliament
  • add a level of plan-making below local authorities (neighbourhood plans)
  • extend the pre-application consultation duty to all major applications, not just infrastructure applications
  • require local authorities to complete their development plans by mid-2102
  • introduce a 'national planning framwork' to replace the current planning policy guidance and planning policy statements
  • clarify the law on predetermination and bias in local government
  • referendums on whether to have elected mayors in England's twelve largest cities outside London
  • match council tax receipts from new homes to encourage house-building
  • allow privatisation of local authority-run services by allowing outside organisations to challenge local authorities that they can do better
  • shake up allocations for council housing and homelessness assistance

All will be revealed on Thursday, and of course a full report and analysis will appear here.

Previous entry 194: sparks amid snow at energy NPS public consultation event

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Angus Walker
In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.