The Community Rights movement continues to go from strength to strength, as latest figures show more than 4,000 buildings, green spaces and other local assets are now protected.
Local people are also having more of a say on what new developments should look like and where they should go, with more than 1,900 neighbourhood plans now well underway.
Communities Minister Andrew Percy said:
The facts speak for themselves. More people than ever before are taking advantage of community rights and the support available to make their neighbourhoods even better places to live and work.
From regulars taking over their local pub to ambitious local plans, community rights continue to give power back to communities across the country.
To promote the programme, an interactive map lists protected assets and other community rights uses throughout the country.
The map is being launched at the beginning of Communities Week 2017. The week celebrates how people across the country are using Community Rights to make their neighbourhoods even better places to live, work and socialise.
Communities have a set of community rights powers. They include:
This helps to protect treasured local community assets. Communities can nominate any local building or land they love as an ‘asset of community value’. Then, if it comes up for sale, they have 6 months to raise the funds to buy it.
More than 4,000 much loved assets are now listed including 2,000 pubs. Other assets listed include football stadiums, church buildings, village halls and allotments right through to Longford Lake in Sevenoaks, Kent.
This helps local communities to shape the places where they live and work. Residents are directly able to decide what type of development is needed, where it should go and what it should look like.
More than 1,900 areas are currently drawing up draft plans, covering 8.6 million people.
Following successful local referendums, 270 of these plans have now be put in place by local planning authorities across England. On average, around 9 out 10 people voting backed the plans.
Residents are able to invest financially in community projects. By buying shares and becoming part-owners of a business, local people can become supporters, volunteers and advocates. It also means projects get much needed funding to get started and become financially sustainable.
£50 million has been raised through community shares offers since 2012.
More Than a Pub programme
The More Than a Pub programme, co-funded by the government and Power to Change, will provide £3.6 million to help around 80 communities to buy and run their pub over the next 2 years.
The first pub to go into community ownership using a £50,000 government loan), supplemented by a £50,000 Power to Change grant, was the New Inn at Norton Lindsey, Warwickshire. This was completed on 12 December 2016.
The Communities Fund, launched in December 2016, provides £3.25 million to support grassroots community organisations to work in partnership with their local authority to improve local services.
It is targeted to relieve local pressures on services and is being used to help tackle health and wellbeing, social isolation, community and training and employment needs.
Bright Ideas Fund
The £1.85 million Community Business Bright Ideas Fund will offer up to 80 community groups in England up to 15 days of tailored support. This includes grants of up to £20,000 to develop their budding community business ideas.
Jointly funded by Power to Change and the Department for Communities and Local Government, the 2-year programme will be delivered by a consortium, including Co-operatives UK, Plunkett Foundation and Groundwork UK, led by Locality.
Tony Armstrong Chief Executive of Locality said:
The community rights provide communities with the tools to create positive, sustainable change. It’s great to see that communities continue to use the rights to take action in their neighbourhoods.
Communities Week 2017 showcases and celebrates this amazing work, and encourages anyone who might have an idea of how to make their community a better place to live, to take action.
Want to get involved in your community? See the My Community Rights website for details on how to go about it. Also follow #CommunitiesWeek17 on Twitter for more details.
Community rights are enshrined in law by the Localism Act 2011. The first rights came into force on 6 April 2012.
The interactive map shows:
- listed assets of community value
- designated neighbourhood planning areas
- Our Place
- Community shares
- Bright Ideas Fund
- Pub is The Hub
- Communities Fund projects
The data on assets of community value is based on the information obtained from lists of assets of community value, published on local authority websites, where available, at the time of production.