THE COALITION Government’s flagship Localism Bill will be a good thing for the people of Basingstoke, according to the town’s MP.

New legislation, aimed at pushing power down to a community level and giving local authorities a greater say, was unveiled on December 13.

Basingstoke MP Maria Miller said the bill would allow voluntary groups to protect, improve and run frontline services that might otherwise shut down – including shops, pubs and libraries.

“The bill offers great opportunities for Basingstoke,” she said. “This new legislation will make a real difference to how local matters are decided.

“Among other things, it will radically reform the planning system so that local people have a greater say and influence over what Basingstoke looks like in the future.

“Giving local people the opportunity to shape the development of the communities in which they live is something that I have long campaigned for, and I am delighted to see it being enshrined in law.

“The borough council’s current consultation on the number of new homes needed in Basingstoke is part of this process of taking local people’s views into consideration in developing a vision for the future.

“I would urge all residents to let the council have their views on this before the end of the consultation on January 14.”