Local authorities have a strategic role as place-shapers in their area. This will mean that in most cases they will take a lead role in driving forward the creation of new communities. In some areas local authorities may pursue this role through their involvement in an Urban Regeneration Company or other independent partnership organisation.
All local authorities already have experience of and structures for engaging with local residents, such as ward committees or neighbourhood management structures. Local authorities may wish to use a combination of these structures and other methods to engage and consult existing residents.
Local authorities are the primary place-management body in any area. They could choose to manage new settlements in the same way they manage existing communities within their boundaries, including maintaining public space and providing local services such as refuse collection. They and their partners may wish to consider another stewardship option for new settlements.
Urban Regeneration Companies (URCs)
Urban Regeneration Companies are independent companies established by a Local authority and a Regional Development Agency. They work alongside other stakeholders such as the HCA (previously English Partnerships) and employers, amenity groups and community representatives.
The URCs were created to champion and stimulate new investment into areas of economic decline and to coordinate plans for their regeneration and redevelopment.
Urban Development Companies (UDCs)
Urban Development Corporations (UDCs) are non-departmental public bodies which are limited life bodies tasked with a broad remit to secure the regeneration of their designated areas. Their specific role is to:
- Bring land and buildings into effective use
- Encourage the development of existing and new industry and commerce
- Create an attractive environment
- Ensure that housing and social facilities are available to encourage people to live and work in the area
In order to do this a UDC can:
- acquire, hold, manage, reclaim and dispose of land and other property
- carry out building and other operations
- seek to ensure the provision of water, electricity, gas sewerage and other services
- carry on any business or undertaking for the purposes of regenerating its area
- generally do anything necessary or expedient for this purpose.
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Housing associations and other social landlords
It is residents who create and develop the character of a physical place. Local people, both those already living in an area and those arriving in a new development should have opportunities to be involved in the design, development and ongoing stewardship of new communities. They may wish to be involved as part of a community group or as individuals.
Community groups will have strong links with local people, or particular groups of residents in an area. Development partners may wish to work with them in order to help them engage with local residents. In existing communities some groups may have specific interests, for example, friends of parks groups, and they may have interest in helping to design or manage particular facilities in a new community, such as a park. As new settlements develop, new community groups will come in to existence and should have opportunities for similar involvement.
Local residents as individuals should also have opportunities for involvement. This applies to both existing residents and new arrivals to a development. For more information about how this involvement can be facilitated by development partners see: Early engagement of future and existing residents and Residents in control: governance, engagement and accountability.