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Residents gain direct power over local decisions

Published 9th August 2018

Residents are to be offered new powers to veto or approve plans that affect their communities, as ministers say they want to help the public sector, private businesses, charities and volunteers to work together more closely to build stronger communities. The Civil Society Strategy, published yesterday, says decisions to approve housing developments, sell public assets such as community centres, or spend more on fixing potholes could be made using new forms of direct democracy. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said that the issues at stake and the precise decision-making methods would be up to individual authorities, "Government alone cannot solve the complex challenges facing society. Government can help to bring together the resources, policies and people who, between them, can do so." Local authorities in six areas will take part in a trial over the next 12 months.

The Strategy includes a case study highlighting SLCC Cornwall Branch’s partnership with the Cornwall Association of Local Councils for training local councillors and says it will “explore with the National Association of Local Councils and others the option for local ‘charters’ between a principal council, local councils, and community groups setting out respective responsibilities.”

It also says the government will continue to encourage communities to use the community rights available to them and will issue revised guidance to help communities take ownership of local assets.

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