Community Right to Build Funding
The Government has announced that £17.5 million of funding is to be made available over the next three years (up until March 2015) for local communities to finance a Community Right to Build Order.
A Community Right to Build Order is a relatively new power which allows the "community" to deliver development in the form of homes, shops or facilities to meet the requirements of the locality without the need to obtain planning permission. Grant Shapps, the Housing Minister, has stated that a Community Right to Build Order gives the communities "a licence to build what they want where they want".
Only either a Parish Council or a designated Community Organisation which complies with a number of strict requirements (such as being a body corporate with the majority of members with voting rights being from the specific local community) are able to apply for a Community Right to Build Order.
An application for a Community Right to Build Order is a complex procedure, involving significant consultation with the local community, independent examination and the holding of a local referendum within the neighbourhood. It has been estimated by Government impact assessments that the cost of the creation of such an Order could be in the region of £40,000.
The Government`s funding announcement therefore represents a method of obtaining financial support for an application for a Community Right to Build Order.
It must be noted that the funding will only be made available for contribution towards the costs of preparing a submission for a Community Right to Build Order, including consultation and developing the scheme proposal. However, the funding is not intended to cover the costs of building, land acquisition or any other costs of the actual development.
Applications for the funding can be made to the Homes Communities Agency, who have published application forms and guidance, which can be found on their website.
As expected, there are specific criteria set down for any such Application which must be complied with, and this includes the need for the Community Organisation or Parish Council to be in a position to fund 10% of the estimated costs of the proposal to the point that the group can submit an application for a Community Right to Build Order. Equally, evidence must be shown of consultation that has already been undertaken within the neighbourhood.
The funding does not need to be repaid if a an application for a Community Right to Build Order is unsuccessful and the Government have also pledged a bonus of up to £2,000.00 to those that move quickly and get their plans in by the end of March 2013.
The impact of the funding offered by the Government, and whether £17.5 million is in fact enough, will remain to be seen, but this does at least represent some recognition of the concerns of the public regarding the costs of Community Right to Build Orders being addressed.
This article is for general guidance only. It provides useful information in a concise form. Action should not be taken without obtaining specific legal advice.