The Community Right to Build – Step by step

Author: Locality

Thinking of using the Community Right to Build? Take a look at our step-by-step guide to help you through the process.

 Step 1: Establishing community support

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.

Step 2: Getting started

Parish Councils and designated Neighbourhood Forums may take forward a Community Right to Build. They may also be taken forward by community groups meeting certain requirements. Such a group must form a legally constituted organisation. The community organisation must be ‘established for the express purpose of furthering the social, economic and environmental well-being of individuals living, or wanting to live, in a particular area’

Step 3: Defining the neighbourhood area

Before starting, there must be a designated neighbourhood area. This would be designated by the Local Planning Authority, following an application by a neighbourhood forum or parish council.

Step 4: Developing a business case

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.

Step 5: Preparing a community right to build order

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.

Step 6: Submitting a community right to build order

The draft Community Right to Build must be submitted to the local planning authority, together with accompanying statements. The local authority will arrange for an independent examination to take place. This will examine whether the Right meets the ‘basic conditions’ set out by law. The independent examiner will make recommendations on whether to proceed to referendum, with or without modifications, or not. If the local authority is satisfied that the order meets the basic conditions, then it will arrange for a referendum to take place.

Step 7: The referendum

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.

Step 8: You’re ready to build!

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.

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