SIR, — I am very pleased to report that the residents of St Albans are going to have a greater say in the development of their community. The Sustainable Communities Act was passed last year and this law will allow local communities to ask Central Governm
SIR, - I am very pleased to report that the residents of St Albans are going to have a greater say in the development of their community. The Sustainable Communities Act was passed last year and this law will allow local communities to ask Central Government to take action which they believe will better enable them to improve the economic, social or environmental well-being of their area.
The scope is broad, including areas like promoting local jobs and protecting local housing. It will be for all of us to decide what we think needs to be done to promote the sustainability of St Albans. The Act also brings in new Local Spending Reports, which will ensure that we will be better informed about the public funding spent in the area. This should allow improved prioritisation of our scarce resources and hopefully avoid the waste and overspending that concern us all.
The Green Party has promoted both such decentralisation of power and the need for community sustainability as key policies for many years and we are delighted to see this law passed. The next stage is for each local authority to choose whether to opt in. If they do opt in, they need to make proposals on promoting local community sustainability to the Secretary of State by October 22 this year. Assuming that our council decides to opt in, they then have to set up a "panel of representatives of local people" to make sure we are all involved in any proposals that are submitted.
In the spirit of the "people power", it would be appropriate for the council to be already asking the residents of St Albans to provide their own ideas and priorities for such proposals and begin the process of forming panels of local people.
St Albans District Green Party is looking forward to working with the residents of St Albans and the council over the next few months with regards to such a submission.
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St Albans District Green Party.