Power to the people

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Housing Minister Grant Shapps has called on communities to lay the foundations for future developments in their area.

Mr Shapps said 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 at 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 to people at a very local level.

To kick off discussions in communities, Mr Shapps launched a 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.

Mr Shapps said: “I want communities of all shapes and sizes to have the chance to drive forward their own plans for the future of their neighbourhoods without being hindered by bureaucracy and red tape.

“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.”