Press Release: Civic Voice calls for changes to the “Localism Act” at Government select committe

Civic Voice – the national charity with 75,000 individual members – yesterday (4th November) gave oral evidence to the Department for Communities and Local Government and called for changes to be made to “community right powers” contained within the Localism Act 2011.

Dr Freddie Gick, Chair of Civic Voice, said;

“Civic Voice was pleased to be asked by the Select Committee to give evidence at the first inquiry session on the success of community rights legislation. Over 1,500 communities have instigated neighbourhood plans and similar numbers have nominated sites as Assets of Community Value. These figures demonstrate that, whilst there is progress being made in take up of the powers available to communities, there is still some way to go before we see full widespread participation”.

In response to a question from the committee about how the rights could be improved, Dr Freddie Gick, called on government to consider introduction of the following measures:

• extension of the moratorium period under the Right to Bid from six to nine months.
• a business rates concession awarded to properties registered as assets of community value.
• a separate planning class for pubs.
• an appeal system for applicants who are refused asset listing.
• Government guidance for local authorities to ensure that ACV listings are treated as a material consideration when considering planning applications.

Gick finished by saying “Most people want to have a say and play an active role in the way their local area is shaped. We believe these measures will inspire more citizens to participate in the community rights agenda and look forward to further debate over the coming months as we progress towards the general election.

NOTES FOR EDITORS
Civic Voice is the national charity for the civic movement. We work to make the places where everyone lives more attractive, enjoyable and distinctive and to promote civic pride. We speak up for civic societies and local communities across England. We believe everyone should live somewhere they can be proud of and we know how people feel about places because we feel the same way. Civic societies are the most numerous participants in the planning system. Since its launch in April 2010 Civic Voice has been joined by over 290 civic societies with 75,000 members. Further information is available at http://www.civicvoice.org.uk including how to join Civic Voice (£10 individuals) and contact details for local civic societies.

FURTHER INFORMATION
Ian Harvey .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
T 0151 707 4319/ 07877096968
T @civic_voice