People power helping to shape policy

By on 30/12/2009 in News

People power is alive and well after a series of citizen suggestions to improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of communities in Birmingham was approved for submission to the Government.

All of the eight innovative proposals that were drawn up after city-wide public consultation have been backed by the Local Government Association following a selection process featuring hundreds of ideas submitted nationally.

A chance to make the suggestions - which could now become law - arose as a result of the Sustainable Communities Act (2007), a national initiative to improve the areas in which people live and work.

The eight potential suggestions drawn up in Birmingham are:

1. Utilities companies to provide up to date electricity and gas consumption data, on a neighbourhood scale, to local authorities and local strategic partnerships.
2. Increase local food production by:
• Allowing more allotments, community gardens, community orchards or market gardens, and;
• Introducing automatic Statutory Allotment Status for appropriate sites after an agreed period
3. Local authorities to be given the discretionary power to regulate vehicles that park on and damage footways and grass verges (enforcement would lie with local authorities and the Police).
4. Local Authorities be granted the same flexibility as other Registered Social Landlords (RSLs) to grant Assured and Assured Shorthold tenancies, as well as existing Secure Tenancies.
5. Introduce Accelerated Development Zones (ADZs) whereby local authorities borrow money to invest in infrastructure so that the area becomes more attractive to investors and businesses.
6. Keeping essential community services open, for example Post Offices.
7. Promoting small business by increasing rate relief.
8. Promoting production of local renewable energy.

Cllr Paul Tilsley, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The citizens of Birmingham rightly have strong views on subjects that they regard as important. It is therefore crucial that we seek to involve people in decision making - and I am delighted that the Local Government Association has judged the proposals put forward by citizens in Birmingham as worthy of submission to the Government as ideas that should shape future policies.

“If any of these suggestions are taken on board by Westminster, Birmingham will have played an influential role in shaping policies that address the needs and wishes of people at a grassroots level across the country, which is vital while we battle against the effects of the recession.”

To find out more about the Sustainable Communities Act or the proposals please contact sca@birmingham.gov.uk call 0121 675 2660 or visit www.birmingham.gov.uk/sca

ENDS

For further information contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621

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  1. Kavan says:

    Introduce Accelerated Development Zones (ADZs) whereby local authorities borrow money to invest in infrastructure so that the area becomes more attractive to investors and businesses, I think is a fantastic idea.

    This helps to build on what infrastructure the city already has, and will allow us to make huge advances over the years.

    One idea I am very keen on, is the development of an underground system similar to London’s so we can attract new investors & busineses.

    This will attract swathes of new busineses to the region, incredible amounts of tax revenue which will allow us to invest in new services and more in existing ones in order to build on them.

    Birmingham will increasingly become a more attractive place in which to live and invest if we develop an underground rail system, and I suggest we move forward with that.

    The contiuing expansion of the City Centre will enable us to gain opportunities to develop further arts & cultural facilities, but will allow us to develop further shops and entertainment venues, especially niche shops such as art & craft shops which are allmost non existent at the moment.

    This will present us with the opportunity to take trade from other towns & cities

    An opportunity to develop further open spaces may be very beneficial as well.

  2. Geoff Bainbridge says:

    I hope that the rest of this piece is not as misleading as the part on allotments. I have looked on the LGA website and discovered that the section on protecting allotment sites by making them Statutory has been so altered as to make it completely useless. Birmingham City Council have agreed to an addition which states
    ” The council clarified that they
    would like their proposal to apply
    only to those sites where ownership
    is not clear or cannot be traced after
    an agreed period or where the
    owner is in agreement.”
    This amendment makes the whole section useless. So much for people power

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