A radical new Right to Build system in the UK puts the power to grant planning permission firmly in the hands of communities and cuts red tape for property projects, Housing Minister Grant Shapps claims.
The Minister is making £17million available to help local people get their building projects off the drawing board with an ‘early bird bonus’ of up to £2,000 for those that move quickly and get their plans in early by the end of March next year.Under the new Community Right to Build, communities will 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 the backing of more than 50% of voters in a local referendum, these projects will get the go-ahead.
The Right to Build can be used for whatever communities need to make their neighbourhoods prosper and can include family houses to sell or rent, community halls, homes designed specifically to meet the needs of older people, children’s playgrounds and shops and business facilities.
And for those looking for advice and support, community charity Locality will launch a new website, phone line, seminars and detailed one to one mentoring for those looking to use their Right to Build.
‘For too long communities have had to use their energy fighting development they didn’t want rather then putting it to use bringing about the homes, shops and facilities they did. The Community Right to Build completely changes that and puts communities in the driving seat by ensuring they can bring about the development their neighbourhood needs,’ said Shapps.
‘The funding and advice service being offered will provide a big boost to those communities eager to take up their Right and bring about change to their area. I would urge all communities to make use of this support to ensure they have the best chance to thrive in the future,’ he added.
According to Steve Wyler, chief executive of Locality, the new Community Right to Build presents incredible opportunities for people to have a greater stake in their area. ‘If you can see the potential of new buildings for community benefit we’re here to help, support you through the process and make things happen, enhancing local pride and prosperity,’ he explained.
The fund will be run by the Homes and Communities Agency. ‘The Community Right to Build is an innovative new way of empowering local communities, enabling them to play a more active role in shaping their area according to their needs and aspirations. The funding will support those local groups who want to take forward locally backed development which will ultimately benefit the whole of their community,’ said chief executive Pat Ritchie.