Well it seems my pronouncement of the demise of the Community Right to Build two weeks ago was indeed premature! This week my CRTB Google-alert brought me this document from the Department of Communities and Local Government – their own ‘how to’ guide.
Hitherto we have only had press-releases and a number of more detailed, technical papers from which to figure out how the CRTB will work. So piecemeal was the information that I wrote my own ‘how to’ document last summer, but now we finally have the Government’s own version, published to coincide with the CRTB ‘going live’ at the end of last week.
The most interesting thing about the document, from my point of view, is that the CLG seem finally to be putting the CRTB in the context of locally sanctioned commercial development, rather than wrapping it up in the sometimes thorny issue of affordable housing. As I have explained previously, perfectly workable arrangements already exist for delivering land for affordable housing outside established Development Boundaries, but the Community Right to Build offers something new – the power for local communities to grant their own ‘planning permissions’ and therefore exploit (for their own benefit) the massive increases in land-value that go with it.
In all their early publicity the government suggested the CRTB could be used to improve the delivery of affordable homes in rural areas; in this latest explanation, ‘family homes to sell on the open market’ are the first thing on the list of what the CRTB might be used for, and it is quite specific about the potential for cross-subsidy from the CRTB project to a community endeavour:
The benefits of these developments, such as profits, will be managed by a community organisation for the community.
It will be interesting to see whether with this renewed emphasis the CRTB might finally capture the public’s attention, and become a real driving force for the funding of community projects.