Ideas for change: Lessons from the pioneers in community rights

My community rights logo croppedLocality and partners have been working round the clock to support established and newly formed groups wanting to get more involved in their community – saving land and buildings they care about, delivering local services as an enterprise and having a say over what is developed in their area. Meet some of the pioneers…


The Ivy House pub in Nunhead

An incredible 300 assets have been listed since the Right to Bid legislation came into force. This is the vital first step in protecting buildings and land. And just in time for the Ivy House pub campaigners – who were fighting to save this grade II listed pub where Elvis Costello and Joe Strummer played. They listed it as an asset of community value to stop it going to auction on the open market, potentially to a commercial developer.

They then had the daunting task of raising £750,000 funds to buy the pub in six months. With Locality’s advice, the Plunkett Foundation’s help with a business plan, funding from the Architectural Heritage Fund and The Social Investment Business, and shares sold to the local community, they are now set to re-open later in the summer and pull that first pint!

Cranleigh Village hospital is another example of a passionate group committed to meeting the needs of local people. They have been awaiting the Community Rights with great anticipation. The League of Friends hope to use the Right to Bid to bring the oldest village hospital in the country back into community hands. The hospital passed to the newly formed NHS in 1948 which has struggled to keep pace with local requirements – and they fear that the old hospital may no longer be needed by the NHS.

Cranleigh - cropped

Cranleigh, the oldest village hospital in the country

Slaugham Parish Council in Mid Sussex is getting closer to achieving the community’s vision for the parish. Already responsible for allotment sites, the village green and playgrounds, it has secured funding for two Right to Build Orders through the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and with advice from My Community Rights and consultation from development consultancy rCOH Ltd to build 76 new homes: 38 affordable and 38 open market including 17 for self-build as well as a community centre and bowling green.

Slaugham started by finding out what the local community wanted and is the first neighbourhood plan so far to include proposals to make Right to Build orders. It sets a model for other towns and parishes to follow and they’re keen to share their experiences!

Brixton Green, set up in 2007 by local people in Brixton, South London, is involving the community in the development of a large neglected site on Somerleyton Road and want to use the Community Right to Build. They’ve had hundreds of conversations with local people and have plans for a creative hub and community hub housing small creative businesses, a children’s nursery, training for young parents and a health centre, as well as sustainably built family homes.BrixtonGreen cropped

Malachi Specialist Family Support Services in Birmingham are making the most of the newly introduced Community Right to Challenge, preparing a formal expression of interest to take on integrated family support services run by Birmingham City Council.

If successful they will operate a wide range of services and facilities for local people who will be able to access advice and support, learn and take part in sport, hobbies and craft initiatives.

Chief executive officer Gordon Lee said: ‘We have an overwhelming commitment to helping local children and families, and we genuinely believe that based on our expertise, experience and dedication, we can make an excellent case for operating this service from Billesley for Billesley.’

Ventnor Town Council, driven by a struggle for car parking spaces in the centre of town and its detrimental effect on local shops and the flagging economy, is exploring taking over responsibility for car parks from the Isle of Wight Council using the Community Right to Challenge. Ventnor Town Council has received a grant through the My Community Rights support service of £9k and is discussing the opportunities and ideas with local businesses.

  • You can find lots more pioneering initiatives on the My Community Rights Hub along with access to support and grants.


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