From today it will be easier for communities to set up new town and parish councils, under measures intended to remove ‘bureaucratic burdens’.
The Government has confirmed it will lower the threshold of signatures required to trigger a review of government to 7.5% from 10%. Local authorities will now also have to undertake a governance review within a year of receiving a valid petition.
Under the new measures, neighbourhood forums will also be able to trigger a review for a new parish council without submitting a petition.
Communities minister Stephen Williams said: ‘Parish and town councils have a crucial role to play, having both a democratically accountable voice and a structure for taking community action.
‘However, the current obligations can stifle local campaigns and constrain local democracy. That is why we are changing the rules and helping campaigners by making it much easier to set them up so they can get on and start making a difference for their local communities.
The measures have been welcomed by the National Association of Local Councils (NALC), who said they would help remove red tape and streamline the current process.
Cllr Ken Browse, chairman of NALC, said: ‘We welcome the continued impetus on the creation of more new local councils to deliver services to local communities and give them a voice.
‘The government’s measures are a step in the right direction to help people and communities create these most local of democratically accountable councils. Now communities can get on with delivering grassroots level services and representation by taking local action.’
The new rights are expected to come into force within the next 12 months.