2010 Policy Round Ups
Additional money for using empty shops was announced on 4th December by Communities Secretary John Denham, as part of an action plan, entitled Real Help Now, which includes providing a further £2.6 million to fifty high streets to find new uses for vacant premised. A new ‘meanwhile use' lease that enables empty shops to be used on a temporary basis at minimal cost by local community groups was also launched.
A public consultation on plans for the Post Office to become a ‘people's bank', offering a range of banking services, was launched on 2nd December. Campaigners from the Post Bank Coalition have welcomed the proposals but criticised them for not going far enough. Speaking at Urban Forum's Annual Conference, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson, Vince Cable, gave his support to the proposals. The deadline for consultation responses is 24th February 2010. Upcoming Urban Forum poll and members survey to be used to inform consultation response on this issue. Consultation Post Bank Coalition Vince Cable Speech at Urban Forum conference
On the 1st December Housing Minister John Healey announced that CLG had received expressions of interest from a number of areas wanting to explore developing new eco- town standards, and announced an increase in the money available for eco-development in new areas. These will join the four eco-town proposals announced in July 2009: Rackheath in Norfolk, North-West Bicester in Oxfordshire, Whitehill Borden in East Hampshire, and the China Clay Community near St Austel in Cornwall. More information
Conservative Shadow Communities Secretary Caroline Spelman announced, on 19th November, proposals for a ‘Community Right to Buy Scheme' to enable local charities to take over post offices, pubs and parks. More information
On the 100th anniversary of the first Planning Act, Housing Minister John Healey has announced support for councils to plan and deliver new homes and green energy projects to power the country to a low carbon future. Councils will get a share of a £135m funding pot for planning and building new homes and expert support to pioneer a new way of working with developers to deliver renewable energy schemes, such as biomass and geothermal power plants. More information