Assessing the viability of a stewardship approach

Any stewardship approach chosen for a new community must be properly assessed to ensure that there will be adequate future income for the scheme and that the practitioners and residents involved in managing the neighbourhood have the right skills and support to fulfil their roles.

Canal in HackneyThe Academy for Sustainable Communities (ASC), now part of the Homes and Communities Agency, was involved in assessing the feasibility of various stewardshipGlossary: refers, in this context, to the ongoing process of managing, maintaining and tending a community plans for a development in Waverley, South Yorkshire. The 300 hectare area, owned by UK Coal, is the proposed site for around 4,000 new homes. During the development of the master planGlossary: A plan for the overall land use of a particular area. A master plan allocates land area for different functions such as housing, industry or retail. for the site, the ASC worked with a number of partners, including English PartnershipsGlossary: English Partnerships was the national regeneration agency, which merged with the Housing Corporation in December 2008 to form the new Homes and Communities Agency, ATLASGlossary: ATLAS provides an independent advisory service to Local Planning Authorities, the social enterpriseGlossary: A social enterprise is a profit-making businesses set up to tackle a social or environmental need sector and the Development Trusts Association, to consider the types of services that could lend themselves to management by the community.

The feasibility plan resulting from the investigation recommended the establishment of a Community Trust to oversee a range of assets and services, including community transport, a Combined Heat and PowerGlossary: Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is the simultaneous generation of usable heat and power (usually electricity) in a single process system (CHP), open spaces, community development and commercial land holdings. However, despite the report’s recommendations UK Coal decided not to adopt this stewardshipGlossary: refers, in this context, to the ongoing process of managing, maintaining and tending a community model.

You can download a podcast of a round table discussion about the merits of community governance, made by the ASC here.

Community managed stewardshipGlossary: refers, in this context, to the ongoing process of managing, maintaining and tending a community models, such as development trusts, are not new, but they are still relatively uncommon in this country. Barriers to their creation remain but these might not necessarily be based on financial concerns, i.e. that a Community Trust would not be able to generate sufficient income. In some cases these barriers are cultural, and relate to concerns that a Community Trust’s members might not have the skills or capacity to manage assets well, or simply concerns about adopting a relatively untested approach. In cases where a community managed stewardshipGlossary: refers, in this context, to the ongoing process of managing, maintaining and tending a community approach is financially feasible, but where other concerns remain, development partners may wish to work with national agencies and organisations like the ASC and the Development Trusts Association to overcome these cultural concerns.