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COUNCILS COULD HAND OVER LAND TO COMMUNITY GROUPS

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Councils could be told to transfer land to community groups under a six-point action plan announced by the governme...
Councils could be told to transfer land to community groups under a six-point action plan announced by the government.

The scheme is to 'give people greater control over how key assets in their communities are run.'

It comes after the minister for local government and community cohesion, Phil Woolas, accepted Lewisham LBC chief executive Barry Quirk's review of public asset transfer.

Government response to Quirk Opening the Transfer Window implementation plan

Quirk report

The scheme, which aims to 'make services more responsive and create more confident empowered communities with greater civic spirit', provides for:

--£400,000 for 20 schemes, which will see the transfer of up to 40 key assets from local authorities to community organisations.

--Access to a£30m to support community-led organisations in owning and running buildings, to be managed by the Big Lottery Fund. The fund will offer grants to refurbish local authority buildings, ensuring they are suitable for community use and for the transfer to third sector ownership or management.

--Guidance to local authorities to help them identify assets that community organisations could run and provide a focal point for local communities.

-- A drive to empower residents to call for assets to be devolved. Residents will be able to raise issues through a Community Call for Action, and even appeal to the secretary of state to direct councils to transfer assets.

--Training for community organisations and local authority officers.

--Greater collaboration between financiers to encourage existing and new investment.

Ministers believe public satisfaction and the quality of services improves when community group are directly involved in projects.

Mr Woolas said: 'With more power being devolved to communities and greater responsibility on councils to promote wellbeing, this year is a key window of opportunity to breathe new life into disused public assets and give people a bigger stake in the future quality of life in their local area through community transfer.

'Our plan will get forty demonstration projects up and running and provide councils with the tools and training they need so that they can give every community the opportunity to tackle their local priorities, whether those are about enhancing the local environment, alleviating poverty or raising people's aspirations.'

Mr Quirk's team will meet in a year to monitor progress.

LGC interviews Mr Quirk

Regeneration & transport

Communities

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