Shapps: Planning permission powers firmly in the hands of communities

And a new support hub will offer the help and advice they need.

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 per cent 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 playgrounds; and
shops and business facilities

Grant Shapps will today offer a share of £17million to areas looking to start their own building projects.

The Minister will also pledge an ‘early bird bonus’ of up to £2,000 to those that move quickly and get their plans in by the end of March next year.

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.

Grant Shapps said:

"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.

"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."

Chief executive of Locality, Steve Wyler, said:

"Locality fought hard to shape the Localism Act. We believe in self-reliance and community ownership. 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."

The fund will be run by the Homes and Communities Agency.

Chief executive of the agency, Pat Ritchie, said:

"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."

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