And so we’ve been away this week out of Sunny Colch on something of a jolly over in Bristol.
Actually that’s not quite true. The Chronic has been working our collective backsides off at the rather lovely #locality12 conference. Brunel’s Beloved can’t quite compete with Britain’s Oldest Recorded [blimey] but it was a half decent location for a convention that had us returning to Sunny Colch full of ideas and optimism for the future.
Wearing the work hat and top of the agenda for The Chronic was the recent Community Right to Bid initiative launched by that nice Eric Pickles. It’s a complex piece of legislation for sure, but equally it is beautifully simplistic.
Cut back the swathes of documentation and definition, and essentially it allows community groups to have a heads up on buying community assets ahead of the private sector.
We’re not finger pointing, but imagine that your fave Sunny Colch back street boozer is under threat from being sold by the brewery to developers for yet more private housing. If a group of twenty one or more residents come forward and tell our friends from Colchester Borough Council to place the building on the Right to Bid list, you then have a six month heads up in which to prepare a serious bid to buy the old boozer.
We’ll drink to that.
It’s not just pubs of course – shops, former schools, swimming pools or even a public open space: all of these have potential under Right to Bid, as long as you can slip into your bid the ‘social well being’ [URGH] criteria.
Of course the serious challenge then kicks in of having to stump up the dosh in the six-month head start that you have over the developers. This isn’t the Friday night fantasty pub game of agreeing to buy your local boozer with all of your mates.
A sustainable [URGH] business plan is needed, probably with a key anchor tenant [URGH, URGH] helping to tally up the hyperlocal economy.
And so that was the word form the Bristol beat.
How the chuffers does this all relate back in Britain’s Oldest Recorded?
With an ever keen sense of good timing, the CBC Policy Review and Development Panel [SEXY] met on Monday evening, just as The Chronic was choo chooing out of North Station and all bound for Bristol.
On the agenda was Localism. Oh the irony of a hyperlocal sort departing Sunny Colch to talk about hyperlocal matters when back at base a key policy document was under discussion.
Item 7 (iii) on the agenda covered specifically the CBC policy on Assets of Community Value and the Right to Bid: [PDF]
“The provisions of the Localism Act 2011 and the Assets of Community Value (England)
Regulations 2012 place a number of requirements on the Council. This report provides further information on these legislative requirements and makes recommendations on the arrangements to be adopted by Colchester Borough Council.”
In short that nice Eric Pickles is saying show us yer assets, Sunny Colch:
“Local authorities are required to consider such applications, and maintain and publish a list of assets of community value.”
Our Monday night moles in the Grand Jury Room tell us that the debate was in depth, yet constructive. The recommendation to approve the Sunny Colch Right to Bid list has now been passed on to Cabinet.
Which of course it will…
As for the publication of the list here in Britain’s Oldest Recorded?
Steady the buffers.
By law this needs to be published, but this is a project that is just starting off the process in Sunny Colch. Those nice folk from Democratic Services have pointed The Chronic over here for a heads up on any activity relating to this legislation.
And so what next?
The Right to Bid isn’t an opportunity to go round listing every other building in Sunny Colch that you want to keep away from the developers. It is a serious piece of legislation that requires serious thought.
Work is already underway in mapping some of the potential projects around Sunny Colch. Part of the Jane’s Walk weekend back in May included an informal ramble around the town with @MarcDe_ath to look at some potential projects.
The Moors, the bus station waiting room, the old police house and even… Jumbo – all have Right to Bid potential.
A brief hat change from blogger back to day job, and we can point any Right to Bidders over here for some help and advice. The Place Station is also mapping any possible areas of interest. Sunny Colch *ahem* is already well catered for.
As for Bristol?
Half decent, but the sight of Jumbo on the horizon as you chug, chug chug back into North Station always puts a smile on your face.
Someone should trigger a Right to Bid…