The act gives communities a new right to draw up a neighbourhood plan, so they can influence the future of their local community.
They will be able to form a neighbourhood forum or work through a parish council to agree on the kind of new houses, shops and businesses that should be developed in the local area.
Local communities will be able to grant planning permissions in the areas they would most like to see new developments, ensuring they are delivered much quicker and the process is made easier.
Right to build
Community Right to Build, which is part of neighbourhood planning
, enables local people to bring forward small, site-specific, community-led developments e.g. playground, shops and up to 20 houses.
More on the right to build
Development proposals will need to meet the minimum criteria and have the agreement of more than 50% of local people that vote through a community referendum.
It will be for communities to decide on the type of development they want to see, including the type and tenure of any housing.
Any benefits from any development - such as capital or rental receipts - will remain within the community.
In order to be able to use the right, members of a community will need to set themselves up as a corporate body with the purpose of furthering the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of the local community.
Right to challenge
The Community Right to Challenge allows voluntary and community groups - including social enterprises, parish councils and local authority staff - the right to express an interest in taking over a council-run service.
More on the right to challenge
The aim is that local groups and organisations with new or good ideas should be able to put them forward and drive through improvements in local services.
Northumberland County Council is required to consider and respond to this expression of interest and it should initiate an open procurement process for the service which the challenging organisations, and others, can bid to take over.
Expressions of interest can be submitted to the commercial and procurement service manager at any time throughout the year.
Successful expressions of interest
Once the authority accepts an expression of interest, this will trigger a full procurement exercise. This will be carried out in line with the authority’s existing procurement procedure and in line with procurement law.
It is worth highlighting that once a service undergoes a full procurement exercise, the opportunity to bid for the service is opened up to all organisations (including the private sector).
Unsuccessful expressions of interest
An expression of interest can be rejected, but only on the grounds set out in the regulations. Grounds for refusal may include:
- failure to comply with the statutory requirements
- material inadequacy or inaccuracy in the information provided
- unsuitability of the organisation or its partners or sub-contractors
- a decision to stop providing the service
- the service being integral to people who are also in receipt of NHS services in an integrated package and its continuation critical to their wellbeing
- a procurement exercise being already under way
- negotiations for the service being under way, in writing, with a third party
- notice being given that the authority is considering a proposal for the service from its employees
- the expression of interest being frivolous
- acceptance is likely to breach another legal obligation
When an expression of interest is unsuccessful, Northumberland County Council will write to the applicant explaining why the application was rejected.
If you have any questions or want to discuss your expression of interest with Northumberland County Council, please contact Kirsten Francis, principal policy officer (inclusion):
Planning, Housing and Economy Directorate
Right to bid
The Community Right to Bid is intended to help keep assets of community value in the local area. This might be a local library, community centre or facility, local pub, etc. which is threatened with closure or sale.
To support this process, Northumberland County Council maintains a list of assets which have been nominated as having community value. When a listed asset becomes available for sale or change in ownership, the act gives community groups the time to put together a bid and to raise the capital needed to bid to buy the asset when it is available on the open market.
Community Right to Bid
What is an asset of community value?
The council deems a building or land is to be of community value if:
Making a nomination
- A current main use of the building or land furthers the social interests or wellbeing of the local community and it can realistically continue to do so, even in a different way.
- The building or land was used recently to further social interests or wellbeing and it can realistically do so again in the next five years.
It is important that your community group is eligible to nominate. You can only do this if you answer yes to the two questions below:
- Do you have a local connection to the property you are wishing to nominate?
- Are you an unincorporated community group with at least 21 members who are registered to vote in the Northumberland area, a parish council, charity, industrial and provident society, local neighbourhood forum, company limited by guarantee or a community interest company?
To nominate, you must inform us of the address of the property, details of the owner, the extent of the site and why you feel it is an asset of community value. You must also provide evidence of your eligibility to nominate.
Once the form has been completed, you can return it by email to: Kirsten.firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, you may send your nomination by post to:
Community Right to Bid
Policy and Research
Northumberland County Council
Once we have received the completed form, we will consider and check the eligibility of the nomination. If we feel the property does have community value, it will be added to the list of assets.
Assets will remain on the list for five years and a land charge will be registered against the property. We aim to assess nominations within eight weeks.
You will be advised that the property has been listed and the date when it will be removed. It is important you note the date, as there will be no further contact with you unless the property owner decides to sell. When the five years have expired, you can submit a new nomination.
If we decide to list a property, the owner can ask for a review and there will be an appeal to an independent body. Further guidance will be provided in the letter to the property owner.
We will tell the nominee if the nomination is ineligible and provide an explanation of why it was unsuccessful. The property will then be added to the list of ‘land nominated by unsuccessful community nominations’ and will remain on the list for five years.
There is no appeal or review process for unsuccessful nominations.
There is additional guidance available to assist in the preparation of your application and to provide more detail relating to decision-making processes involved.
We have also produced a FAQs section below, which should answer most of your questions.