Britain to Scrap Outmoded Bylaws

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Fish frying will become legal in Gloucester and people will be allowed to beat carpets in Blackpool under government plans announced Tuesday to let local councils scrap outdated byelaws.

Local Government Minister Grant Shapps outlined the proposals as part of a strategy to hand power back to councils and communities.

The reforms will mean that councils can create new byelaws or get rid of old ones without seeking permission from Whitehall.

Under the current regime, councils first have to contact the Secretary of State for Local Government for a stamp of approval before they can abolish outdated laws.
In future councils will have to consult local residents on whether a new byelaw is needed or whether old ones should be scrapped, but will not have to involve central government at all.

Byelaws which the ministry believes councils may want to axe include an 1887 ruling preventing the beating of carpets or the placing of any clothing or towels on the Promenade at Blackpool.

Others are a 1956 regulation which prohibits the drying of clothes in parks in Whitstable and a 1905 byelaw relating to the transport of dead horse carcasses in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.

Gloucester City Council has told ministers that it has unearthed 60 old byelaws it wants to revoke.

Among these are a 1911 requirement for domestic servants to register with the council, a 1947 measure on the cleaning of ashpits and cesspools and a 1968 byelaw regulating fish frying and "other offensive trades".

Shapps said: "For far too long, councils have had to jump through hoops just to get things done for residents. That's why I want councils to use this new power I am offering them, and keep a watchful eye out for outdated rules that will soon be so much easier to scrap.

"But people should also be free to contact their council with their concerns and have them addressed easily, so councils should also look to set local byelaws that improve their area -- with no ministerial involvement whatsoever."

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