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Agenda Item No.

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

CABINET: 8TH SEPTEMBER, 2014

 

REFERENCE FROM COMMUNITY LIAISON COMMITTEE: 8TH JULY, 2014

 

 

186    REQUEST FOR CONSIDERATION FROM PENARTH TOWN COUNCIL – THE LOCALISM ACT (HDS) –

 

The Committee received a report with regard to the provisions of the Localism Act as it relates to Wales. 

 

The Localism Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 13th December, 2010.  Attached to the report at Appendix A was a paper prepared in January 2011 by the Members' Research Service of the National Assembly for Wales.  The purpose of the paper was to provide a guide to Welsh-related provisions in the Bill.

 

The Act received Royal Assent on 15th November 2011.  Many of the provisions of the Act do not apply in Wales.  However, as set out in the Appendix to the report, the Act gives the National Assembly for Wales legislative competence in respect of three matters:

 

 

·               Local referendums on proposed Council Tax levels

·               Planning applications and enforcement

·               The Housing Revenue Account (HRA) and Housing Revenue Account Subsidy (HRAS) system in Wales.

 

The Act also contained two Wales-only provisions conferring a power for Welsh Ministers to decide the timing of Council Tax revaluations in Wales and the power for Assembly Ministers to give directions to Welsh Local Authorities who fail to produce new budget calculations after having their Council Tax capped. 

 

A number of provisions applied to both Wales and England, these include:

 

·               Ensuring that Councillors are not prevented from taking part in decisions where they have expressed a view on related issues ("predetermination")

·               Requiring Local Authorities to publish Senior Pay Policy Statements

·               Repealing duties for Local Authorities to promote understanding of local democracy and make schemes for handling petitions

·               Requiring ballots on all proposals for Business Rate Supplements and enabling Local Authorities to give discretionary business rate discounts

·               Changing the way local housing authorities may discharge the main homelessness duty under the Housing Act 1986.

 

At the time of the Bill, certain provisions required a Legislative Consent Motion (LCM) in the National Assembly.  These included the Local Authority pay accountability provisions, the repeals relating to local democracy and petitions and the homelessness provisions.  Further explanatory text regarding the clauses which were relevant to Wales were set out in sections 2-4 of the Appendix to the report.

 

The Member from Penarth Town Council stated that in England the Localism Act impacted on rights such as future procedures for planning and also Pre-Scrutiny and Scrutiny Committees in relation to planning functions, this report highlighted certain aspects and information contained within the Localism Act with regard to pre-determination, planning and the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) all of which he felt were very important.  He thanked officers for the report and for highlighting the aspects that related to Wales.

 

During the discussion the Chairman took the opportunity to thank the Town and Community Councils who had made requests for consideration for matters to be debated by the Committee stating that the Community Liaison Committee provided a forum for Town and Community Councils to debate such issues and that they had several issues in line for future meetings.  A Member queried whether the phrase “hand back†contained within 3.3 of Appendix A was the same as “claw back†in respect of the Housing Revenue account with the Democratic Services Officer advising that they would contact the appropriate officer and respond to the member accordingly. 

 

A Member of the Vale of Glamorgan Council asked whether there was an update on third party speaking rights at Planning Committee with the Chairman responding that  a meeting of the Constitution Working Party was to be held on 17th July 2014 and that the Constitution was being reviewed in depth.  He was not able to provide any further information on the issue but hoped that he would be able to do so in time for the next meeting of the Committee in October but that he would also raise the issue with the responsible Cabinet Member.

 

Following consideration of the report by the Committee, it was subsequently

 

AGREED –

 

(1)       T H A T the contents of the report on the Localism Act be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T Cabinet be requested to address the issue of third party speaking rights at Planning Committee as a matter of urgency..

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To apprise the Committee of the provisions of the Localism Act with regard to Wales and to Town and Community Councils.

 

(2)       To progress further discussion on the issue of third party speaking rights.â€

 

 

Attached as Appendix - Report to Community Liaison Committee: 8th July 2014