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Think tank urges statutory right to beautiful places

by on July 30, 2015

Independent think tank ResPublica has called for all communities to have the right to “beautiful places, buildings and spaces”, regardless of income.

Its report, ‘A Community Right to Beauty’ just published highlighted concern that households with incomes lower than £45,000 a year are the least able to access beautiful places and green spaces,

The report argued for a ‘community right to beauty’ to be introduced via primary legislation. The think tank also recommended a range of new powers and incentives to support community measures to create, shape and improve their locale.

The report made the case for so-called citizen’s juries to oversee problematic development and the use of referenda which would be binding on local authorities.

Under ResPublica’s proposals a ‘community right to reclaim land’ would be extended to buildings and other local assets to enable the public to challenge authorities to improve derelict or unsightly developments.

The report also proposed new designations including so-called Areas of Outstanding Urban Beauty. These would be akin to conservation areas but would recognise beauty that isn’t just historic or green.

Buildings, areas and spaces with local importance should be designated as ‘Local Beauty Assets’ and preserved and maintained. Meanwhile, areas without much visual appeal would be designated ‘Community Improvement Districts’ where communities would be empowered to demand policies to tackle problems like litter.

The think tank’s stance has the support of the Woodland Trust, National Trust, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Ecclesiastical Insurance, Atlantic Gateway Parklands, Hastoe Housing Association and Civic Voice,

The report’s findings were based on findings from a public poll conducted by leading pollsters Ipsos MORI.

View the press release

Roger Milne

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