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The Community Right to Build allows communities to decide for themselves whether they would like to develop new homes, shops, or other buildings in their area. The first step towards utilising the Community Right to Build is to establish what people want to see in the area and establish a support base for any specific proposals. There are lots of resources available to give you an idea of interesting and effective ways of involving local community members.
In order to use the Community Right to Build, you must have a properly constituted community organisation. Some groups, such as parish councils, may already meet these requirements. If not, there are a number of legal forms that you can use that further “the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of the community” (as required by the legislation).
If your proposal is going to be workable and get the support of people within your community, the business case has to add up. Involve your community; develop your plans; identify the land or building you hope to acquire; do the sums to make sure the development is financially viable; talk to any potential partners e.g. housing associations, private developers, local authorities; consult with the community; and agree the long-term community benefit. There are grants to help do most of this.
Having pulled the ideas together and developed a proposal, the community organisation will need to draw up a Community Right to Build Order. Before making a submission to the Local Planning Authority of a proposed Community Right to Build Order, the community organisation must also carry out certain publicity and consultation to make sure that everyone in the community and certain specialist bodies have had the chance to comment on the proposals.
After your Community Right to Build Order has been drawn up it must be submitted to the Local Planning Authority, which will then ask an independent examiner to consider it. The examiner will see if it meets certain minimum standards. If it doesn’t meet these minimum standards, the examiner may recommend that the Local Planning Authority refuses the draft order or suggest the appropriate changes that must be made. Once the independent examiner is satisfied that the draft order can be submitted to referendum the draft Order is passed on to the local council to be put to a local referendum so that people can vote on whether they want the development described in the draft Order to go ahead.
Your local council is required to organise a referendum, open to all persons in the defined neighbourhood area who are registered to vote in local government elections. In some cases, it may be opened to a wider area if there are broader implications of the development being approved. If the referendum receives the support of over 50% of those voting, the Community Right to Build Order is passed and the council must make the Order, thus granting the planning permission set out in the Order.
You’re ready to build! The community organisation can now oversee completion of the development and determine how any profits generated will be utilised for the benefit of the wider community.