Letter from South Northamptonshire Council (08 Mar 2011)
A letter from Jean Morgan, Chief Executive of South Northamptonshire Council regarding a meeting I had in January to talk about the effects of the Localism Bill.
Download (pdf, 922kb)
Meeting of the Northamptonshire Residents' Association (01 Mar 2011)
On Monday I was invited to attend a meeting of the Northamptonshire Residents Association (NRA) at Kislingbury Village Hall which is actually in my friend and neighbour, Chris Heaton Harris' constituency of Daventry. Many representatives from resident's associations across Northamptonshire attended to discuss the plans for housing development across the county which have recently been announced by the West Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit (WNJPU). The meeting was very well attended which shows what a big issue this is and how concerned and angry residents are at the plans put forward by the WNJPU.
I can understand the feelings of residents. The WNJPU is the unelected planning body of the West Northants Joint Planning Committee, which itself is made up of Councillors of SNC, Daventry, Northampton and NCC - therefore no single authority can command a majority so it feels undemocratic to many and yet is ploughing ahead with creating the development plans for the whole area.
I was pleased to speak at the meeting about the Localism Bill currently going through Parliament. Once it reaches the statute books (late in 2011) it will abolish the Regional Spatial Strategies of the last government and will return power to democratically elected local authorities. I strongly believe that local residents should have a greater say over how their communities look and feel.
Some fear that if communities are allowed to decide where houses are built, then it will be impossible to meet housing demand, as residents will block further development. I do not believe this will be the case. A key provision of the Localism Bill will be to allow communities who choose to host developments to profit from the benefits such as receiving income from council tax and business rates which will provide funding that will benefit the community.
David Ballard spoke after me and explained what the Joint Core pre-submission document put forward by the WNJPU means. David has just been elected the Chair of the Mid Northamptonshire Parishes which incorporates 23 parishes across the county. He explained that the Joint Core Strategy is again a top down target proposal and he said he was sceptical over the number of houses it is suggested will be needed over the next 15 years.
Roger Kingston who is the Chair of the NRA then spoke and expressed his disappointment at the new proposals from the WNJPU and his anger at the lack of provisions for infrastructure that would be needed if so many new houses were built.
I am following the progress of the Localism Bill through Parliament very closely and I hope that it will be on the statute book by the end of the summer. At every opportunity I will be making the point that local communities must be allowed a greater say on how their area looks and I will do my best to keep residents up to date with how things are progressing.
Download (, 0kb)
Bob Neill (04 Aug 2010)
Letter from Bob Neill MP, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
Download (pdf, 227kb)