The five key measures in the Localism Act intended to decentralise power are:

1. Community Rights
2. Neighbourhood planning
3. Housing
4. General power of competence
5. Empowering cities and other local areas

According to Government, the effect of the Act will be to:

1. Give more freedom and flexibility to local government.
2. Give new rights and powers to local communities, making it easier for them to improve local services and save important local facilities.
3. Reform the planning system, putting more power in local peoples’ hands.
4. Ensure that housing decisions are taken locally.

The Act requires local authorities to take account of statutory guidance and this is expected to be published in advance of the Rights coming into force in April.

They include: new freedoms and flexibilities for local government; new rights and powers for communities and individuals; reform to make the planning system more democratic and more effective, and reform to ensure that decisions about housing are taken locally.

For this parish council, localism has meant working with Milton Keynes Council and their community asset transfer programme to identify how local facilities, such as Downs Barn and Marsh Drive sports areas can be taken over by the Parish Council to maximise their potential use for the benefit of the community.  Please see separate community asset transfer (CAT) for details on specific projects.

Plain English Guide to the Localism Act