Who helps to decide?
A long-term stewardship strategy will affect the work of many different national and local agencies and will have a significant impact on the life of the new community. In order to find the best approach many stakeholders will need to be involved in developing and choosing the appropriate stewardship approach.
Planning for the long-term future of a new community is best started at the earliest possible stage and should be considered with reference to the local sustainable community planning process. The most appropriate stewardship option will depend on local circumstances but should be decided through discussions involving all the relevant stakeholders.
Local authorities will have overall responsibility for managing service delivery and maintaining public space. Various members of the local authority will be interested in long-term stewardship arrangements, including planning officers, street scene service providers and elected councillors for the area or nearby communities. In areas with two-tier local government responsibilities for service delivery will be held by both county councils and district councils. Both will need to be involved in shaping a stewardship approach.
Private developers will be required to contribute towards the development of the wider community through their section 106 commitment, which in some cases might help fund the creation of a stewardship organisation. They will also be interested in ensuring the development remains attractive to potential owner-occupiers throughout the various phases of development.
Social / affordable housing providers
Social and affordable housing providers will continue to manage or own property into the longer term and will have an interest in maintaining the value of their investment through ensuring ongoing stewardship of the surrounding public realm.
Many national agencies will invest, either directly or indirectly, in the development of new settlements. This may include the Homes and Communities Agency and potential other bodies such as English Waterways. All these agencies will be interested in maintaining sustainable communities in the long term and maximising public benefit from their investment.
Local community groups may be interested in either helping to manage community assets or running services in the new settlement, for example, running community cafes. The provision of new public facilities may provide them with opportunities for space to host new community orientated activities or for social enterprises. The Goodwin Trust in Hull is an example that has been able to expand the services it provides in this way.
Where new communities are being planned in close proximity to existing residents, it may be important to include those living nearby in decision making for a long-term strategy. Where there are no existing residents it could be worth testing potential stewardship plans with residents from other areas to gauge their opinions of the different options.
LSPs will usually take an interest in the long-term management of a new development, although their remit is wide and not all LSPs will choose to focus on a particular community. However some LSPs support local neighbourhood management arrangements through the provision of joined-up public sector service delivery.
Other service providers, including education, health, local businesses and the police
Schools can act as a focal point for developing a sense of community in a new settlement and education providers will have an interest in how the community will be managed in the long term. Similarly health service providers will also be crucial in the early stages of the life of the community. 'New town blues' have been reported in many new settlements and offering mental health support services will be important for new residents. The needs for and of these types of services should be included in stewardship plans.