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Nottinghamshire County Council - Proud of our past, ambitious for our future


Localism – Making it easier for you to do the things that make your community your community

In Nottinghamshire, the County Council wants local people to be able to make more decisions about the area where they live, for communities to be more involved in the way that services are shaped and delivered and for communities to be proud of their local area. 

Nationally this is known as Localism, in Nottinghamshire it's about making it easier for local communities to make more local decisions at a local level.

There are lots of ways this might happen and every community will be different. In your local area this might be local people volunteering to extend library opening hours, a parish or town council running a County Council service such as grass cutting, or local communities telling us how best to utilise local services such as winter grit bins.

Find out more about the plans for Localism in Nottinghamshire and read the Council's Localism Policy [PDF].

Localism Bill receives Royal Assent

The Localism Act 2011 received Royal Assent on 15 November 2011. The Act seeks to hand power back to local authorities and local communities offering new freedoms and flexibilities to achieve local ambitions.

Deputy Leader Councillor Martin Suthers who has responsibility for Localism policy development said:

"The new Act supports the Strategic ambitions of the County Council and our existing work to support Nottinghamshire residents to make decisions and have a say about the area where they live. We are keen to work with our communities to expand on our existing work and make the best use of these new powers for the benefit of the people of Nottinghamshire."

You can read a summary of key measures in The Localism Act 2011 which apply to Nottinghamshire County Council here.

Case studies – Localism in action

Empowering local communities isn't a new idea in Nottinghamshire; it's something we have been doing for quite some time and our Strategic Plan outlines our commitment to it. Examples from Nottinghamshire include:

Nottinghamshire is a county steeped in heritage, beautiful countryside, distinctive villages and attractive market towns. The Nottinghamshire County Council Local Improvement Scheme works with local communities to regenerate their local areas and create a sense of local pride.

The scheme also aims to promote rural initiatives, market town projects, conservation and heritage projects and projects that encourage economic and cultural regeneration. It also provides jobs for local people, showcases the work of local craftsmen and helps train young people in a trade.

This year more than 400 schemes will be delivered across the county as a direct result of people wanting to make their community a better place to work and live in.

Two examples of Nottinghamshire County Council working with local communities to improve their local area are:

Netherfield Lagoon

Netherfield Lagoon

The latest improvements at Netherfield Lagoon have attracted more visitors and schools to the nature reserve. The project, funded by Nottinghamshire County Council’s Local Improvement Scheme, has funded the building of a new dipping platform and improved access routes to the Lagoon.

The site, which is managed by Gedling Conservation Trust, has reported a significant increase in the number of schools, community groups and general visitors using the reserve.

Coun Richard Butler, Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability said: "This is a wonderful example of the exquisite countryside we have in Nottinghamshire and we need to raise awareness of places like this so that both young and old can see the benefits."

Spring Lane improvements

Spring Lane, Wiseton

Following a request from the local parish council The Local Improvement Scheme has funded a £25,000 project to tidy up Spring Lane in Wiseton. The area, which is located next to the canal, had become totally overgrown. The project included the creation of two parking bays, new seating, tree planting, the installation of litter bins, fencing and new York stone paving.

Coun Yates said: "This area is very popular with fishermen and walkers so they now have somewhere to park and somewhere to sit and relax. This patch of land used to be somewhat of an eyesore so the work carried out has been welcomed by residents and visitors alike."

The work in Spring land was carried out by a number of agencies including: Highways, Heritage Conservation, British Waterways, Bassetlaw District Council and Nottinghamshire County Council Rights of Way team.

Grit supplies

Last winter the County Council offered Parish Councils assistance to deal with severe winter weather conditions.

The Parishes were offered up to a total of five 25kg sealed bags of salt which were delivered free of charge.  Further 25kg bags over and above the five free ones could be purchased at a reduced price. The salt could be used locally, as local conditions determined to deal with the snow and ice. 

The Parishes also had the opportunity to buy grit bins which they could place on the highway or on private land to serve the needs of the community. These bins were blue in colour to differentiate them from the County Council’s own yellow bins. The cost of these bins was £150 and this included delivery and the initial filling of the bins.

Over 100 bins were purchased and following a review of the winter service, Richard Jackson the Cabinet Member for Transport and Highways has agreed that Parishes are offered the same facility this year. At present 36 new blue bins have been ordered to date.

Burton Joyce Library

Local communities have been involved in supporting and developing their local libraries through the Community Partnership initiative. Several of the schemes have been rolled out across smaller libraries, including: Burton Joyce, Stapleford, Farnsfield, Selston and Eastwood.

The scheme is encouraging new partnerships with parish councils and volunteers in these areas to encourage greater community involvement with these valuable assets. Communities have been supporting professional library staff to increase the benefits of local libraries to create a service that works for the individual community it serves.

In Burton Joyce volunteers have been actively enhancing the core library service. The 9 volunteers have been supporting staff to keep the library open for an additional 7.5 hours a week.

Volunteering, an insider's view:

Like many others in my village of Burton Joyce, I felt passionate about the future of its library. When I heard that the only way the library would be able to survive the cuts to its opening hours was through volunteers, I was keen to help.

So, a couple of months on, do I feel that we, the volunteers, are making a difference?

Well yes, if I look at the brand new sign outside the library displaying its new and extended opening hours. And yes too, when I welcome each Monday a little girl and her Dad who come 'especially for that lady to read me a story'. And yes again when I showed a man how to open a Word document and send it as an attachment on an e-mail. My grown up children would be startled to learn that my limited IT skills could be of use to others!

But a big "not yet" in encouraging more Burton Joyce residents to visit and use the library. That is the harder part and I am working with Gill Rockett and Kath Loverseed to plan a programme of activities to try to do just that. Our first event is planned for October and we have sent a letter to all village organisations, inviting a representative to come along to an Open Evening to launch the new opening hours, the new look library and to find out from them how the library can help their organisation. We plan to follow this with Christmas Readings and Mince Pies, an event for those belonging to or interested in starting a Reading Group, as well as activities for children.

As a volunteer, I can only offer my time and enthusiasm and I am very aware of trying not to tread on the toes of the qualified staff, but so far I have been made to feel very valued by them. I am sure they know only too well, that if we do not find a way of bringing more people through the door, none of us will have the libraries we so love.

Judith Wright
Volunteer Library Ambassador, Burton Joyce.

What we are doing

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Following the introduction of The Localism Act we are:

  • Working to strengthen what we already do to empower local communities
  • Preparing for the implementation of new measures under the Act
  • Using existing information gained from consultations and events to build on our understanding of the needs of local communities 
  • Seeking views from Parish and Town Councils and the Voluntary Sector to build on our existing work with them
  • Developing new opportunities for Nottinghamshire communities including piloting a Lengthsman scheme

Community Right to Challenge

The Community Right to Challenge is a national process introduced through The Localism Act 2011.

This makes it easier for voluntary or community groups, parish councils or council employees to bid to run local authority services.

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