Localism Act

The Localism Act was introduced in 2012 with the aim to shift power from central government back into the hands of individuals, communities and councils.


Contained within the Act are a number of reforms which are intended to make the planning system more democratic and effective

Reforms include:

  • The ability for communities to draw up a neighbourhood development plan. This will allow people to come together within their parish to say where they think houses, businesses and shops should be built and what they should look like. It must be in conformity with the Local Plan or Local Development Framework. The plan would have to comply with certain procedural requirements and be promoted by a ‘qualifying body’ such as the Parish Council and other local representatives including those from the business sector, and would require support from the Local Authority through advice/assistance (not necessarily financial). A referendum would decide whether the plan is adopted with a simple majority (50%+)
  • The Community Right to Build gives groups of local people the ability to bring forward small developments.
    1. from a community group such as a community interest company or a community land trust, etc
    2. independently assessed to see whether the proposals meet specific key criteria; and
    3. supported by more than half of the community that vote in a referendum.

    A neighbourhood development order will grant automatic planning permission for specified developments that are identified in a neighbourhood development plan or a community right to build, although different conditions and assessment criteria apply to each. The Order grants area wide planning permission for the plan or is site specific for the right to build

    HARAH would be very interested to hear from communities that are considering either a Community Right to Build or a Neighbourhood development plan, as we may be able to support you in the process.

    How does HARAH empower local communities?

    The process used by HARAH already goes a long way towards empowering local communities, and the housing we provide is specifically to help local people remain living in the areas where they grew up or work. Some of the ways in which we involve the Parish Council and local community are listed below:

    • The provision of affordable housing for local people is usually instigated by the Parish Council or local community to meet identified local need.
    • The Parish Council are consulted about potential sites for affordable housing and often suggest sites based on local knowledge.
    • If more than one site is suitable and available the whole community may be consulted by HARAH to help decide which site to progress.
    • The Parish Council are consulted about the layout, design and materials used for the housing.
    • The whole community is consulted about the proposals before the planning application is submitted.
    • The Parish Council has an input into the local connection criteria which decides who will be eligible for one of the new homes.
    • The contractor liaises closely with the community during the building work to minimise disruption.

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