The Big Society & Us

"..The Localism Bill has the potential to transform national life. It will give town halls far more discretion to get on with the job of responding to what local people want. It will make the planning system more responsive to communities and allow for much greater local control over social housing. Crucially, it will also pass new rights and powers direct to local communities.

Under the Bill, it will become easier for local people to give the green light to the building of shops, businesses and homes where they are most needed. Voluntary groups and social enterprises will be able to ask to take over the running of local public services. And when important local amenities and buildings - such as community centres, old town halls, village shops or pubs - come up for sale, communities will have extra time to prepare a bid to take them over, making it easier to keep much-loved assets in public use and part of local life..."

How will this affect our Community?
 We need to make more people aware of our situation and how this decision is being pushed through just as consultation is coming to an end and this bill is on the verge of being adopted. However, we know that the land on which the Greig Centre as a whole is located is already specifically designated as community land for the use of the Community only and to safeguard this agreement a written Covenant protecting its use, was placed on it!
More importantly, we as a Community need to write to Stratford District Council to remind them that on the disbandment of the Alcester Rural District Council they were entrusted with the same responsibilities and good guardianship of this Covenant placed on the Greig land and as such they have a care of duty to uphold the Covenant and its restrictions and to protect and preserve the land for future Community use and initiatives. 
(Link to..... How You Can Help!)
What is the Community Right to Challenge?

1.1 The Community Right to Challenge is an important part of the Government’s plans to shift power from Whitehall to councils, and beyond to citizens and communities – and to help build a Big Society where everyone plays their part.

1.2 Many local authorities already make good use of the talents of voluntary and community bodies, charities, social enterprises, mutuals and co-ops. They already successfully run local services including in education, tackling worklessness, the environment and social care. But in other places good suggestions do not get a fair hearing. The Community Right to Challenge enables these bodies to express an interest in running a service, which may trigger a procurement exercise relating to the provision of relevant authority services on the authority’s behalf.

1.3 The Right will hand the initiative to  communities and the bodies that represent them who have innovative ideas about how services could be shaped to better meet local needs, or could be run more cost effectively. It will ensure these ideas get a fair hearing and give them the time they need to organise themselves and develop their ideas to be able to bid to run the service.

1.4 The Coalition Programme for Government committed to “give communities the right to bid to take over local state-run services”. The Community Right to Challenge gives effect to this commitment. This is linked to another coalition agreement to give public sector workers a new right to form employee-owned co-operatives and bid to take over the services they currently deliver, on which Cabinet Office is leading, called Rights to Provide. Other linked policies from the Coalition Programme for Government include amongst others:......

Asset of Community Value

1.17 The Community Right to Buy provisions in the Localism Bill (entitled ‘Assets of Community Value’) will entitle community groups to identify and nominate public or private assets of community value in their local area to be included by the local authority on its list of assets of community value. The provisions also introduce a window of opportunity for community groups, once a listed asset comes up for sale, in order to give them valuable time to organise and fundraise, so putting them in a better position to compete with other potential buyers. It is important to note that nominating land to go on the list will not commit the nominating organisation to bid for it if it is put up for sale..."
To read more on this please click on this link: Community Rights

 Getting Involved at a Local Level
To get involved in issues affecting your local neighbourhood (Planning, Healthcare, Community services, etc.) attend your local Community Forum.....