Localism Act will give Bristol a voice

Jo Davis, Senior Director at GVA comments on the enactment of the Localism Bill as the Localism Act.
“We at GVA welcome the Localism Act. Taken together we believe the principal components of the Act are a significant, positive step forward in giving power back to Local Authorities and encouraging innovation.
“The Act will grant new freedoms and flexibilities for local development, strengthening local democracy and accountability. It will create new rights and powers for local communities, and businesses. It will secure greater opportunity to initiate and participate in local planning and change. This is a significant move towards a clearer, more democratic and more effective planning system. The ultimate consequence is that many more decisions about housing provision and delivery can be taken locally.
“We have long advocated the merits of a city regional approach to economic growth, placing cities at the heart of the economic agenda, in which strong civic leadership is critical to our places reaching their full economic potential.
“Rebalancing the disparities in regional growth across the UK, starts with leadership and in clearing the way for locally elected mayors. The Localism Act will give Bristol a “voice” and the ability to generate resources to deliver local priorities will break free from the functional silos that public policy and finance tends to operate within.
“The local government finance settlement was substantial in 2011/12, (£19billion). If a small proportion of this was made available to forge a new creative relationship with the private sector across a platform of locally determined economic development and regeneration projects in our region, such as the Temple Meads Enterprise Zone and Weston Enterprise Area, then the prospects for growth would look much brighter.
This is the real potential of the localism act.
“However, there are still matters which need addressing. In terms of planning there is a need for transitional arrangements to be agreed pending the adoption of the National Planning Policy Framework. The Localism Act has probably introduced the most significant changes to the planning system since 1947 and as the NPPF moves forward there remains uncertainty around further planning reform and also uncertainty on how the framework will assist in the delivery of the potential outlined above. Uncertainty always restricts investor and developer confidence and clarity of the Government’s intentions around planning reform is urgently required if the sound principles of the localism act are not to be undermined by an unhelpful planning system.
“We look forward to local authorities responding positively to the enhanced powers and freedoms which they have been granted.”