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NALC Chief Executive's bulletin

Meeting with housing minister

The NALC chairman, Cllr Sue Baxter, and head of policy and communications, Justin Griggs, met the housing minister, Kit Malthouse MP, last week, primarily to discuss neighbourhood planning.

  • Sue welcomed his engagement with NALC and the Hampshire Association of Local Councils, in particular through Lobby Day, outlining the important role of local (parish and town) councils in building strong communities and potential to help government and the country tackle the challenges it faces, but to make the most of this opportunity NALC will need help from principal councils and government, particularly through the Comprehensive Spending Review
  • NALC is a longstanding supporter of neighbourhood planning but wants neighbourhood plans to be given more weight and protection, Sue highlighted Where next for neighbourhood plans?, which had previously been sent to the minister
  • Sue pressed for greater involvement in the supporting programme run by Locality, and for this to be opened as soon as possible, but also requested parallel direct work with NALC and county associations to promote and support neighbourhood planning
  • Issues the minister raised included refreshing and renewing neighbourhood planning including slimming down the process (you can read more in his LCR article!), relationships with principal authorities and tensions with neighbourhood planning groups, the challenge of getting communities feeling more in control of development while balancing the overarching need for more housing, and local councils directly or working with others to provide housing
  • It was agreed to work together on visits to councils and a roundtable to learn from our councils about their neighbourhood planning experience, and involvement in the review of neighbourhood planning including research which is due to be tendered shortly

On the neighbourhood planning support programme, the government did anticipate opening for grant and technical support in early April but due to the local elections were restricted by the pre-election period. This may affect qualifying bodies including local councils looking to claim from the programme in the current financial year, which was raised with the minister, but more information on the 2019/20 support programme is expected soon.

Lords report on the rural economy

NALC were pleased to see a House of Lords Select Committee back NALC's call for a rural strategy in their report on the rural economy and also support our longstanding policy objective on council tax referendums! Hugely welcome also was the recognition of the role of local councils in supporting local economies where the report said: "Town and parish councils should be encouraged to use their discretionary powers to promote local growth through strategic investment, asset management and service delivery". Sue attended a roundtable event on 1 May hosted by the Committee's chairman Lord Foster for stakeholders to discuss the report.

LCR Spring 2019 and renewals

The latest edition of LCR is now out. Discover a whole range of articles, from our cover star Dr Jane Martin of the Commission for Standards in Public Life, who talks candidly about the Local Government Ethical Standards report. Plus read what housing minister Kit Malthouse MP says about the future of housing in the Neighbourhood Planning special, how devolution has impacted one local council and the top tips to becoming a better recruiter… and so much more!

Additionally, information on renewing your LCR subscription has been sent out, so look out for it. Renew your subscription by 28 May to keep receiving this information-packed magazine. If you don't already subscribe to LCR go to, for more information.

Staffing update

Just to let you know Charlotte Eisenhart joined NALC this week as our new head of member services – welcome Charlotte!

VE Day 75 plans announced

Organisers of VE Day 75 next year have announced more details of planned activities taking place over the weekend of 8-10 May 2020, and are encouraging all local (parish and town) councils to get involved. You can read more in our news story here including the letter to all local councils.

Historic England review

Local councils with an interest in heritage may be interested in a tailored review of Historic England which is currently being undertaken by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. This is the first review of Historic England to take place since the organisation was split into two separate bodies in 2015: an Arm's Length Body operating under the name Historic England, and a charity called The English Heritage Trust (trading as English Heritage). There's an online survey or email views to by 9 May.

Posted: Tue, 07 May 2019 11:54 by Alison Robinson

Tags: Historic England review, Housing, LCR, NALC, National Association for Local Councils, Neighnourhood Planning, News, VE Day 75