Historic Towns Forum Director to lead examination of Localism Act

A director from the historic built environment sector is to chair an event that will look at the impact of large scale changes to planning legislation. 

Dr Noël James, who heads up the Historic Towns Forum, is to lead a one day session on February 21 that will examine the practicalities behind Eric Pickles’ controversial Localism Bill, a Bill that has now become an Act of Parliament.  The Act proposes to give local authorities and people the power to shape their own communities by, amongst other measures, providing the potential power to veto planning applications made by developers.  

The event, called Understanding Localism, will be run by the Historic Towns Forum (HTF), of which Noël is Director, and is co-sponsored Bircham Dyson Bell, a leading legal firm who advises English Heritage.

Noëlsaid: “The Localism Act represents a shift change in the way towns and communities are developed.  It is vital that local authorities, conservation, construction, planning and urban design professionals and key regional stakeholders all understand the impact it will have and how it will make a difference to community planning. 

“The HTF is in place to help encourage collaboration between local authorities and professionals working in the historic built environment, and provide linkages, so the Localism Act is clearly a key issue to us.  We’ve very grateful for the support of organisations such as Bircham Dyson Bell as they allow us to continue this work and ultimately ensure the creation and conservation of environments that the entire community can enjoy.” 

Speakers from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Bircham Dyson Bell, Henry Russell, Chair of the Spatial Planning Advocacy Group, Heritage Alliance,and leading practitioners Locality will also be speaking at the event. 

“The combined experience of 25 years working with public and private sector bodies in the historic built environment has equipped the HTF with a deep understanding of how different organisations approach the implementation of new legislation. Putting this experience into use means that we can help to facilitate our members’ understanding of the Localism Act on a practical level. 

“Assisting local authorities and other local stakeholders to make the new legislation understandable to their communities will enable HTF and partners to make valuable contributions to local placemaking.  Working with private sector organisations as well as the public sector will, in turn, mean that they have a greater appreciation of the issues involved with changing planning processes.  It is this collaboration that will mean the Act is accepted with minimum disruption and maximum benefit to everyone.” 

Understanding Localism is to be held at Bircham Dyson Bell, 50 Broadway, London
SW1H 0BL. Those interested in attending should see the following link: www.historictownsforum.org/london12_1or contact Helen Johnson, Marketing and Communications, Historic Towns Forum on Helen.Johnson@uwe.ac.ukor 0117 975 0459.