Skip to content

Local Authority round-up – 09/09/22

Our Local Authority round up provides brief summaries of topical information on a weekly basis, to keep you aware of the changes and updates relevant to you.


£110 million funding to support countryside communities

The government has announced the Rural England Prosperity Fund which will provide £110 million of funding in order to level up rural communities in England.  The fund will be delivered by eligible councils and give local leaders a greater say in investment than they previously had under EU schemes. The funding will be provided in order to invest in projects which will boost productivity and create rural job opportunities including businesses such as farms, wedding venues and pubs.  Investment will be based on local priorities and support investment in projects. Lord Benyon, Minister for Rural Affairs, said “We are addressing the rural productivity gap, levelling-up opportunities and outcomes, and looking after the rural areas and countryside that so many of us are proud to call home. The Rural England Prosperity Fund worth up to £110 million recognises the unique strengths and challenges of rural communities, and will support them to invest and grow their economies in line with local priorities.”

For more information please click here.

Transport secretary announces £2 bus fare cap

Former Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced earlier this week that the government was providing up to £60 million in funding over a three month period in order to subsidise operator costs and incentivise greener travel for commuters whilst also capping adult bus fares at £2 on almost every single journey across England in order to ensure travel remains affordable.  The funding will be provided from January to March 2023 to allow sufficient time for the introduction of  the fare cap and it will enable the government to work with operators and councils to implement a scheme by that date.  Mr Shapps said “Buses are by far and away the most used form of public transport, so ensuring that almost all bus journeys are no more than £2 will assist passengers over the winter months and provide direct help to thousands of households across the country. This £60 million boost will mean everyone can affordably get to work, education, the shops and doctor’s appointments.”

For more information please click here.


Government to expand intervention in Slough Borough Council

Local Government Minister Paul Scully has announced that the government will expand its intervention in Slough Borough Council after persistent failure to deliver best value for local taxpayers.  He confirmed that commissioners are now being granted further powers to oversee the recruitment of the Council’s most senior members of staff. Local Government Minister, Paul Scully, said “The people of Slough deserve a council that can deliver for their needs and drive long-lasting improvements and a brighter future. Given the scale of the challenges set out in the Commissioners report, I am granting further powers to Commissioners to help implement much-needed changes. I am confident that these expanded powers will support the Council so they can drive forward long-term change and protect hardworking taxpayers.”

For more information please click here.

International Trade

New inquiry into the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill launched

The House of Lords Sub-Committee on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland has launched a new inquiry into the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill currently before Parliament. The Committee will begin its inquiry during the September sitting of Parliament by hearing oral evidence on the economic, legal and political implications of the Bill from:=

  • 7 September 2022, 3:30-4:40pm: Michael Hanley, CEO, Lakeland Dairies; Roger Pollen, Head of FSB Northern Ireland; and Peter Summerton, Managing Director, McCulla Ireland
  • 7 September 2022, 4:50-6:00pm: Professor Alan Boyle, Emeritus Professor of Public International Law, University of Edinburgh; and Professor Mark Elliott, Professor of Public Law, University of Cambridge
  • 14 September 2022, 3:30-4:40pm: Dr Niamh Gallagher, Lecturer in British and Irish History, University of Cambridge; and Victoria Hewson, Head of Regulatory Affairs, Institute of Economic Affairs

The inquiry will continue when the House of Lords returns from the conference recess on 10 October.

For more information please click here.

Planning and Housing

New Decent Homes Standard proposed for the private rented sector

The Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities has launched a consultation on introducing a Decent Homes Standard to the rented sector which would mean landlords are legally bound to make sure their property meets a reasonable standard. This would include requiring them to keep properties in a good state of repair with efficient heating, suitable facilities, and free from serious hazards like major damp or fire risks. The consultation seeks views on whether such new standards should be introduced and on how they should be enforced.  The government are seeking views on the proposals from renters, landlords, councils and housing groups.

For more information please click here.

Government publishes Rough Sleeping Strategy

The government has published its landmark £2 billion Rough Sleeping Strategy to drive forward manifesto commitment to end rough sleeping for good.  The strategy sets out funding allocations which will help to reduce homeless.  It includes up to £500 million over 3 years for the Rough Sleeping Initiative, which this year will help provide 14,000 beds for rough sleepers and 3,000 staff to provide tailored support across England. £200 million will also be provided under the new Single Homelessness Accommodation Programme which will deliver up to 2,400 homes by March 2025, including supported housing and Housing First accommodation, and accommodation for young people at risk of homelessness, including rough sleeping. Further funding will also be provided to expand the Rough Sleeping Drug and Alcohol Treatment Grant programme, which provides funding for substance misuse treatment services for people sleeping rough or at risk of sleeping rough, to an additional 20 areas in England, bringing the total to 83.

For more information please click here.

Enforcement notice cannot be issued for prospective breach

The Planning Inspectorate has held that an enforcement notice cannot be issued for prospective breach.  In a recent case, the enforcement notice described the alleged breach of planning control as the material change of use of part of a property from storage to a six-room house in multiple occupation (HMO). Section 172 (1)(a) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA 1990) states that a local planning authority (LPA) may issue an enforcement notice where it appears to them that there has been a breach of planning control. Neither the LPA nor the appellant suggested that any residential occupation of the premises had occurred. The inspector considered that the LPA had acted upon the apparent readiness of the property to use as an HMO, rather than on such a use having begun. The inspector stated that the matters subject to enforcement action must have taken place. An enforcement notice cannot be issued in relation to a prospective breach. In R (Hobday) v Rochester-upon-Medway City Council [1990] JPL 17, it was held that the enforcement notice subsequently issued on this basis was a nullity, because the TCPA 1990 requires consideration of past or present, but not prospective, breaches of planning control. This was the situation here. No further action was taken and the inspector declared the enforcement notice a nullity. Costs were awarded against the LPA.

For more information please click here.

Council’s deferred meeting voting rule preventing councillors from voting where they had not attended original planning application meeting held to be lawful

The claimant (S) had challenged a decision of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets (council) to grant a planning permission application. S challenged the council’s decision on several grounds, including that councillors had unlawfully been told that they could not vote on the application at a Development Committee meeting in September 2021, if they had not been present at an earlier meeting in April 2021 (which had deferred the application while a supplementary report on the impact of the re-development was prepared). Part D of the council’s constitution included rules regarding the Committee, one of which stated that in order to be able to vote upon an item, a councillor must be present throughout the whole of the Committee’s consideration including the officer introduction to the matter (paragraph 11.4). In May 2021, the Committee was freshly constituted with new members as per the council’s constitution, several of whom were therefore unable to vote on the application in line with paragraph 11.4. The High Court dismissed S’s judicial review claim in its entirety, holding that the ground of appeal regarding the ability of councillors to vote failed for the following reasons:

  • Every member of a local authority council or committee had a prima facie entitlement to vote at a relevant meeting. Although there was no direct express statutory provision stating this, it could be inferred from existing legislative provisions. Any restriction on this entitlement required statutory authority. The key consideration here was whether the council’s voting restriction was authorised by statute or by its own constitution.
  • Paragraph 42 of Schedule 12 to the Local Government Act 1972 (LGA 1972) authorised a local authority to make standing orders for the regulation of its proceedings and business (including in relation to committees). The council’s deferred meeting voting rule and, in particular, paragraph 11.4 of its rules amounted to a standing order for the purposes of paragraph 42 as this covered the “regulation of [the] proceedings and business” of the Committee.

In Morris J’s view, paragraph 42 was wide enough to include not just the procedure of a committee but also the right of members to vote. The deferred voting rule was therefore lawful. This decision clarifies the position regarding voting rules and paragraph 42 of Schedule 12 to the LGA 1972.

For more information please click here.

Upcoming Webinars

The Building Safety Act 2022: What do you need to know?

With the introduction of the Fire Safety Act last year and the more recent Building Safety Act 2022, it might feel like the rules and regulations for social housing providers are in a constant state of flux. As such the social housing team at Ward Hadaway would like to invite you to attend a free webinar on 28th September at 12pm, discussing the ins and outs of the Building Safety Act 2022. At this webinar Construction specialist, Neil Williamson, will give an overview of the Act, helping you to understand what it means for registered providers and local authorities. Neil will also offer his keen insight into how these changes will impact new developments and the contractual arrangements that providers will now need to implement. Fire safety and general building safety is always of utmost precedence, and this discussion promises to contain the useful and practical advice, to guide you, our colleagues in the social housing sector, through the recent changes in regulation.

For more information and to book your place, please click here.

Holiday pay update for schools

The Supreme Court has this week handed down a judgment on holiday pay which will have significant implications throughout the education sector. Join us on 15th September at 10am where Graham Vials and Tom Shears will look into this judgment in more detail, including what it may mean for schools in terms of historic financial liability and the steps which schools should be considering moving forward in response to this judgment.

For more information and to book your place, please click here.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

Follow us on LinkedIn

Keep up to date with all the latest updates and insights from our expert team

Take me there

What we're thinking