What are Community Right to Build Orders?

If your community wants to construct or rebuild community buildings such as a community centre or community-led housing, a Community Right to Build Order could be the best route for you to take.

If your community wants to construct or rebuild community buildings such as a community centre or community-led housing, a Community Right to Build Order could be the best route for you to take.

A Community Right to Build Order is a type of Neighbourhood Development Order and forms one of the neighbourhood planning tools introduced in the Localism Act 2011. It can be used to grant outline or full planning permission for specific development which complies with the order. For example: homes, shops, businesses, affordable housing for rent or sale, community facilities or playgrounds.

A Community Right to Build Order is put together by local people who can decide on the type, quantity and design of buildings they want, and in the locations they want them.

Once an order has been drawn up with the involvement of local people, it is publicised and consulted on before being submitted to your local planning authority. Your authority arranges for an independent examiner to test whether the order meets the relevant legal tests, such as ensuring it is in line with national planning policies and certain basic conditions. If the independent examiner gives their approval, the Order is put to a local referendum.

If more than 50 per cent of those who vote in the referendum are in favour of the Community Right to Build Order, it will be ‘made’ and planning permission will have been granted. What is important about this process is that the community gives permission for the building to go ahead – not the local authority as happens with a traditional planning application.

A Community Right to Build Order can be produced at the same time as a neighbourhood plan, or separately.

Read more about Understanding Community Right to Build Orders here.

Community Right to Build Orders: Step-by-step

  • Step 1: Establishing community support
    • Community engagement in the process is a statutory requirement and is  essential for developing consensus within the community and avoiding misconceptions
  • Step 2: Establish a legal structure for your group
    • Setting up a formal legal structure is called ‘incorporating’. Incorporation is an essential prerequisite if an organisation wishes to use the Community Right to Build
  • Step 3: Defining the neighbourhood area
    • A neighbourhood area must be identified in order to be eligible to apply for a Community Right to Build Order.
  • Step 4: Developing a business case
    • You will need a business case to show that your project is feasible (it can be achieved in the short term), sustainable (it can be successful in the long term) and credible (your organisation has the required skills or can draw on the skills of professionals for the knowledge and capacity to deliver it).
  • Step 5: Preparing a Community Right to Build Order
    • When submitting a Community Right to Build order proposal to the local planning authority it must include a number of plans and detail.
  • Step 6: Submitting a Community Right to Build Order
    • Once a Community Right to Build Order is submitted, it will undergo an independent examination, and once any recommendations for change have been undertaken, it can go to referendum#
  • Step 7: The referendum
    • A relevant council must make arrangements for and meet the costs of the referendum to take place in the defined neighbourhood area.
  • Step 8: Doing the development

You can follow the Community Right to Build Order step by step guide here.

Read our guide to Community Right to Build Orders