Housing Minister Grant Shapps has today called on communities to start laying the foundations for the future developments they would like to see in their area.
Mr Shapps said that communities across the country should start looking at the opportunities that the new Community Right to Build proposals, currently before Parliament, could offer them.
And he said that urban areas should look to making use of the new powers - after he extended the scheme which was previously restricted to rural areas only - so that all communities across the country benefit from the new homes, shops and facilities they really want.
This new Community Right to Build will shift power from Government and councils to neighbourhoods and allow people to deliver the homes and development that they really want.
And to kick off the discussions within communities, Mr Shapps launched a new guide that gives people an idea about what the new powers could mean for their area, and encourages them to think about the sort of community-led development they want to see.
Under the proposals, which are contained in the Localism Bill, community organisations would be able to approve new local developments without the need to go through the normal planning application process, as long as the proposals meet certain criteria and there is community backing in a local referendum. Projects with the support of more than 50 per cent of those that vote in a referendum will get the go-ahead.
This will give communities the power to decide how to meet the local priorities in their area. For example additional housing to meet the demand of future generations, new shops where communities want to offer low rent deals to local convenience stores or farm shops, or a new community hall or sports facilities.
A new guide is published today offering information to people who are considering taking forward a community-led scheme which will for the first time be distributed not just to countryside communities but also to community groups in urban areas.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps said:
I want communities of all shapes and sizes, living in the smallest of villages and the largest of cities, to have the chance to drive forward their own plans for the future of their neighbourhoods without being hindered by bureaucracy and red tape.
The Community Right to Build currently before Parliament would do just that, giving local people the chance to give the go-ahead to new, small-scale developments that meet certain criteria and also, crucially, the test of public opinion.
I would urge anyone wanting to shape the future of their local area and get the homes they want built to look at today’s guide. Whether these communities are living in an urban area or a countryside setting, it should give them the pointers they need so they can lay the foundations for making their housebuilding dreams a reality.
Notes to editors
The e-leaflet, ‘The Community Right to Build: An Opportunity in the Making’, is published today and can be found at: www.communities.gov.uk/righttobuild.
Community Right to Build is part of the neighbourhood planning framework proposals included in the Localism Bill.
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