Proposed City Neighbourhoods Committee under scrutiny

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News release: 01 March 2013

Proposals to establish a City Neighbourhoods Committee will be considered by St Albans City and District Council�s Local Services Scrutiny Committee on 5 March.

Verulamium Park with St Albans Cathedral
It is proposed that the City Neighbourhoods Committee will replace the City Forum and give unparished areas a greater say in local-decision making. 

The Committee is being set up to lead the implementation of localism in unparished areas following the introduction of the Localism Act 2011. It will cover eight electoral wards in St Albans of Ashley, Batchwood, Clarence, Cunningham, Marshalswick South, St Peters, Sopwell and Verulam. 

Under the proposals, the City Neighbourhoods Committee will have executive functions and operate as an area committee of the Council�s Cabinet. Membership will be limited to councillors for the wards concerned.

Unlike the existing City Forum, the Committee will have powers to oversee annually policy and budget decision making in respect of non-strategic council-owned assets. These include small parks, playgrounds, open spaces, war memorials, allotments and public conveniences.

It will also support the development of Neighbourhood Forums and Residents Committees and explore opportunities to devolve assets to them. 

Cllr Robert Donald, Chair of the Local Services Scrutiny Committee, said: �The Localism Act has enabled the Council to consider how to involve residents more in the decisions and running of their local communities in the unparished city area of St.Albans. The City Forum has already agreed that an innovative new body needs to be established to help put localism into practice in the unparished areas. Now the details of how this will actually work in practice have to be finally considered and agreed. 

�The Scrutiny Committee will therefore consider at its meeting the terms of reference already recommended by the existing City Forum for the proposed new City Neighbourhoods Committee. The terms of reference for the City Neighbourhoods Committee will then be presented to Cabinet in March for approval, followed by Full Council in May. Residents' views about the proposals will also be considered at the meeting."

A webcast of the Scrutiny Committee meeting on 5 March can be viewed either live at 7pm or at a later date on the Council�s website.

The agenda and papers for the meeting are available on the Council's website.

Councillor contact:
Councillor Robert Donald, Chair of the Local Services Scrutiny Committee for St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01727 841647  

Contact for the media:
Amanda Wilkinson, 
Media and Internal Communications Officer 
St Albans City and District Council
Tel: 01727 819317 
E-mail: amanda.wilkinson@stalbans.gov.uk 
www.stalbans.gov.uk

Notes:
Information about the role of the Local Services Scrutiny Committee, formerly the Overview and Scrutiny (Public Services) Committee, is available on the Council�s website.