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To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the effects of implementation of provisions in the Localism Bill on the ability of local communities to (a) secure sustainable and diverse high streets, (b) promote local influence on the range of shops and (c) provide local influence on the location of shops which are potentially harmful to that community.
Under the provisions for neighbourhood planning within the Localism Bill, communities will be able to have a real say in the detailed planning of their area. Communities will be able to use neighbourhood plans to set policies for the development and use of land in their neighbourhoods, including setting out policies on retail provision within a neighbourhood area, subject to there being an appropriate fit with local and national policy. Within the constraints of the Use Classes Order, communities will be able to determine the uses to which new properties within high streets and elsewhere are put and to prevent certain changes of use for existing properties. Through the use of neighbourhood development orders, communities will be able to permit specified kinds of development in specified locations.
The Bill also contains provisions to increase take-up of small business rate relief; to ensure that a supplementary business rate levy can only be introduced following support of local firms via a referendum; and to give councils new powers to introduce local business rate discounts. The provisions have the potential to support local shops.