What does the Localism Bill Mean for Architects?

…asked Building Design’s online magazine this week. I was asked for a few well-chosen words for a ‘Vox Pop’ piece, specifically in connection with the Community Right to Build. Their edited version fo my contribution is here (behind BD pay-wall, I’m afraid). My full reponse is a bit more nuanced than the edited version used:

For me the most interesting aspect of the Bill is the further lowering of the threshold of support for the Community Right to Build. It was originally set at 90% (the Coalition in an early flush of idealism, perhaps), but this was met with widespread derision! In August the CLG advised that it would be reduced to 75% and the Bill now sets the threshold at a mere 50% of those voting in a referendum. Unlike many commentators, I believe that many projects would indeed have reached the 75% target (I give examples on my blog) but only with the right sort of leadership. My hunch is that the CRTB will be taken up most successfully the ‘new’ rural-dwellers, rather than the ‘born-and-bred’ communities that the government is perhaps looking to support, and it may well create some tension between these two groups. I think projects with open-market housing cross-subsidising community facilities (village halls, community shops pubs and sports facilities) will be more numerous than those involving affordable housing – though I hope I’m proved wrong on this!

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