Localism Bill

Memorandum submitted by Hunstanton Town Council (L 167)

Community Empowerment;

1) Right to veto excessive council tax rises

Members believed that the public should have a right to veto but Hunstanton Town

Council would not be able to finance any referendums unless additional finance

was made available to it.

2) Community Right to Challenge

There was agreement in principle.

3) Community Right to Buy

There was agreement with the Right to Buy.

4) Local Referendums

Members agreed that this was a good idea but questioned whether sufficient funds would be made available to undertake referendums.

Decentralisation and strengthening local democracy;

1) General Power of Competence

If the aim was to reduce top level power and devolve to parishes then members of the Town Council agreed in principle but parishes should be able to increase council tax rates to cope with additional responsibilities. However the aim for more local councils to work together was possibly aimed at larger District Councils but should not exclude parishes. There needed to be a will and wish to work together.

2) Local Authority Governance

Members of the Town Council agreed with the principle.

3) Directly Elected Mayors

Not thought to be applicable to parishes and small towns.

4) Predetermination

There was agreement as debate was healthy, however it was important that the views expressed in any debate were listened to and acted upon and not just ignored.

5) Standards Board

Members of the Town Council seek assurances that about what might what might be put in place instead of the Standards Board and seek clarification of the restraints of the alternatives to prevent over use of legal action which might dissuade electorate from becoming potential councillors.

6) Pay Accountability

There was approval for pay accountability in senior settlements.

7) Scrapping Bin Taxes

There was agreement for the scrapping of bin taxes.

Reform of the Planning System;

1) Abolition of regional Strategies

Members of the Town Council thought that if regional strategies were scrapped then it would lead to a free for all. There needed to be a set of rules at parish/town level and if a plan was advantageous to the parish/town then it should receive support if not then objection should be lodged. There were therefore concerns about scrapping regional strategies but there needed more account to be taken of the local view point and this needed to be at Parish/Town level and not end at Borough or District level, i.e. a truly bottom up approach to planning.

2) Community Infrastructure Levy

Members of the Town Council thought that it would ensure stable community benefits

however they were unsure as to how the levy would operate.

3) Local plan reform

There was agreement provided local decisions really were made locally via the bottom up approach.

4) Neighbourhood Planning

There was agreement that it was in the interest of ‘the greater good’ as perceived by

local government.

5) Community Right to Build

There was agreement although the need for local funding for referendums was again


6) Duty to cooperate

There was agreement in principle but members of the Town Council seek clarification

on what is actually meant by the New Home Bonus.

7) Pre-application consultation

This type of pre-application consultation was welcomed.

8) Enforcement

Better and more appropriate enforcement was to be welcomed.

9) Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects

Members of the Town Council agreed in principle.

Social Housing reform;

1) Social Housing Allocations reform

Members of the Town Council approved of this reform.

2) Reform of Homelessness legislation

Members were unable to comment as the Bill was not addressing the core problem of insufficient local housing.

3) Social Housing tenure reform

Members had mixed views on reform of tenancies and in particular the length of tenancy being proposed. There was agreement however if the minimum tenancy term was to be increased from 2 years to 10 years.

4) Reform of Council Housing Finance

Members did not think this was applicable as the local authority for this area L.E the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk had already disposed of its housing stock, but wondered how the proposed policy would address under-funding.

5) National Homeswap Scheme

Members agreed in principle.

6) Reform of Social Housing regulation

Members agreed in principle.

7) Facilitating moves out of the social rented sector

Members requested more information before being able to make a judgement.

8) Home Information Packs

Abolition was approved.


Not applicable to Hunstanton Town Council.

March 2011