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Localism

The aim of the Localism Act (2011) is to devolve power from central government to individuals, communities and local councils. The Act is a key piece of legislation in the Government's drive for decentralisation. The Localism Act enables:

  • New freedoms and flexibility for local government
  • New rights and powers for local communities
  • The planning system to be clearer, more democratic and effective
  • Decisions about housing to be taken locally

 A plain English guide to the Localism Act (PDF 312 KB)

Rights and powers for communities

This Act passed significant rights direct to communities and individuals, making it easier for them to get things done and achieve their ambitions in the place they live. Further information is available by clicking the headings below:

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  • Community Right to Challenge

    What is the Community Right to Challenge?

    The Localism Act 2011 created the Community Right to Challenge, which gives community and voluntary sector organisations and groups of council staff the right to ‘challenge’ local authorities by putting forward an expression of interest in running local services.

    A successful challenge would result in a competitive procurement exercise in which the challenger would be able to take part along with other interested organisations.

    The Community Right to Challenge came into force on 27 June 2012.

    Who can express an interest to run a council service?

    The following groups can express an interest:

    • a voluntary or community body;
    • a body of persons or a trust which is established for charitable purposes only;
    • a parish council;
    • two or more employees of the council; or;
    • any other person or body specified by the Secretary of State by regulations.

    Are all services covered by the Right to Challenge?

    The Community Right to Challenge applies to all relevant services. A relevant service is a service provided by or on behalf of the council in the exercise of its functions. More information on the definition of a relevant service is set out in our Community Right to Challenge guidance, which is available below.

    If you are unsure whether a particular service is open to challenge, please check the guidance or contact Mark Brookes, Group Manager - Legal Governance at the address below.

    Community Right to Challenge Guidance Paper (PDF 726KB)

    Submitting an expression of interest

    We will consider expressions of interest for any relevant service at any time, although time periods may be introduced in the future.

    Any relevant body who wishes to express an interest in running a service should complete the expression of interest form (PDF 294KB). The form will identify the information needed to help us make a decision on applications. Completed forms and relevant information should be emailed or posted to: mark.brookes@dacorum.gov.uk

    Mark Brookes - Solicitor to the Council and Monitoring Officer, The Forum, Marlowes, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, HP1 1DN

  • Community Right to Bid

    What is the Right to Bid?

    The Right to Bid means that communities can ask us to list certain assets as being of value to the community. If an asset is listed and then comes up for sale, communities have six months to put together a bid to buy the asset. This gives communities an increased chance to save much-loved shops, pubs or other local facilities.

    Parish councils or local community groups can nominate both privately and publicly owned assets which meet the definition of community value.

    A building or land in a local authority’s area will be listed as an asset of community value if, in our opinion:

    • the current primary use of the building/land, or use of the building/land in the recent past, furthers the social well-being or social interests (cultural, recreational, or sporting interests) of the local community
    • it is realistic to think that now or in the next five years there could continue to be primary use of the building/land which will further the social well-being or social interests of the local community (whether or not in the same way as before)

    Owners of listed assets cannot dispose of them without:

    • letting the local authority know that they intend to sell the asset or grant a lease of more than 25 years
    • waiting until the end of a six-week ‘interim moratorium’ period if the local authority does not receive a request from a community interest group to be treated as a potential bidder
    • waiting until the end of a six-month ‘full moratorium’ period if the local authority does receive a request from a community interest group to be treated as a potential bidder

    The owner does not have to sell the asset to the community group.

    There is also a ‘protected period’ (18 months from the time that the owner notified the local authority of their intention to dispose of the asset) – during this time there can be no further moratoriums.

    The process

    The  non-statutory advice note (PDF 210KB)regulations and explanatory note published by the Government provide detailed information on:

    • The bodies that can make nominations (such as local parish councils)
    • Land that is exempt from being listed (such as premises which are primarily residential)
    • The steps that the council has to take when considering to list land as an asset of community value and upon listing that land (including notifying relevant parties)
    • Arrangements for owners to make appeals on decisions to list or award compensation on any losses incurred as a result of being listed (including internal reviews and external tribunals)
    • Exemptions to the six-month moratorium being applied when land is put up for sale or long-term lease.

    A decision will be made within eight weeks of the receipt of nomination on whether to list the asset. The asset will then be placed on a list of successful or unsuccessful nominations, which are available below:

      List of Assets of Community Value (PDF 109KB)

     List of unsuccessful community nominations (PDF 102KB)

    Who to contact

    A  nomination form (PDF 240KB) to list an asset as being of community value is available, which should be returned to Nicholas Brown, Group Manager (Commercial Assets and Property Development) on nicholas.brown@dacorum.gov.uk

    Support available and other considerations

    • Support on the use of this right is available from the Locality - my community rights website.
    • Where the owner of a listed asset, such as a pub, applies for ‘change of use’ then the fact the asset is listed as an asset of community value may be a material consideration in making a decision on whether to grant change of use.
    • In addition, Neighbourhood Plans can formally allocate assets for community use, if there is good evidence to support the case (including for sites which may not meet the definition of an asset of community value). This would give it additional weight in decision making and could inform, and be informed by, the lists of nominated assets.
    • Policies within both the Dacorum Borough Local Plan 1991-2011 and the Emerging Core Strategy seek to promote the retention and development of local services and community facilities. This includes uses such as local shops, meeting places, sports venues, cultural buildings, public houses and places of worship. We will take into account the importance of these facilities to the local community when considering planning applications.

  • Community Right to Build

    What is the Community Right to Build?

    The Community Right to Build is a new way for communities to choose for themselves where and when to build homes, shops, facilities and businesses – putting power back into the hands of local people where it belongs.

    As an alternative to the traditional application for planning permission, it gives communities the power to decide for themselves what happens in their neighbourhood.

    The Community Right to Build came into force on 6 April 2012 and forms part of the Neighbourhood Planning (General) Regulations made following the Localism Act 2011.

    Communities will be able to build:

    • family homes to sell on the open market
    • affordable housing for rent or to convert disused farm buildings into affordable homes
    • sheltered housing for elderly local residents
    • low-cost starter homes for young local families struggling to get on the housing ladder
    • facilities such as a new community centre or a children’s playground

    It depends entirely what local people decide their community needs. The benefits of these developments, such as any profits generated, will be managed by a community organisation on behalf of the whole community.

    For more information, please view the Community Right to Build guidance document (PDF 116KB).

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