Pickles’ vision: how localism can make cities stronger

Former council leader, now Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has spoken today about how the principles underpinning his Localism Bill can help transform our cities.

Speaking at The Economist’s Liveable Cities Conference, he outlined his belief that the bill’s key principle – handing power to local people – can be used to fuel economic growth in our metropolitan areas. Until now, most things I have heard or read about localism have focused on the impact of its policies on smaller, rural communities. But it is right to point out that local communities can be found in cities, and wherever people live.

So, the principle of giving city halls more responsibility for housing, planning and economic growth is as relevant to Bristol and Manchester as the grass-roots localism in action in High Bickington, Devon, where villagers are developing housing and community facilities which will be owned by a local group.

Victorian Birmingham and its leader Joseph Chamberlain was spoken of to evoke a vision of the city’s great heritage and global importance.   

Today’s leaders will soon find out how well localism works in their cities. The full text of the speech, a vision for cities, can be found here.

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