Many new developments start with good intentions and provide community facilities such as a beautiful park or a community centre, but, all too often, 20 years later that park or community centre has become a derelict eyesore – a liability rather than an asset. Community facilities created as part of a new development have often been handed over to the local council, but their maintenance has proved to be a struggle for many local authorities. Now, with their budgets being cut dramatically, they may refuse to take on any new assets.
In an age of austerity, how can we ensure that the new parks, community centres, arts centres and other assets of great value to local people created within new developments are well looked after in perpetuity? This guide provides answers to that question. It sets out tried-and-tested methods of securing a good long-term future for community assets such as parks, community buildings, health centres, local energy sources, and community transport. And it explains how imaginative approaches to funding and management can empower local communities to take control or have a say in the running of local assets.
This guide, published in 2014, is designed to help those who plan and build new places (local authorities, housebuilders, and developers) to:
- capitalise on the assertion within the National Planning Policy Framework that new homes can sometimes best be achieved through large-scale development which follows the ‘principles of Garden Cities’;
- plan to create new community assets that, right from the start, have reliable sources of revenue income for their long-term management;
- understand which assets can be managed by a stewardship body, the organisational models and funding sources available, and the legal frameworks necessary to plan for and establish a suitable stewardship organisation;
- facilitate grassroots community initiatives which can lead to more resilient communities in the long term; and
- learn practical lessons from projects which already employ a community stewardship approach.