I blogged last month about an inspiring community-led scheme in High Bickington, Devon, which has brought villagers together to deliver badly needed housing and workspace for local people.
I was delighted this morning to read the two-page write-up Planning magazine had devoted to the project, following a visit and some interviews organised at the site a few weeks ago.
The link is not yet up on the website, so I can not provide this. But the coverage highlighted the project’s ‘local’ credentials, which predate the Government’s localism and Big Society agendas by the best part of a decade.
It’s great to see the project, and the role of the HCA in its delivery, recognised by the industry. I will try to provide links to the coverage when they are available!
The site from Little Bickington farm
I spent yesterday in the village of High Bickginton, which hosts the best example of localism in action I have seen.
Villagers are driving forward a fantastic development – by local people, for local people – which is set to deliver affordable housing, workspace, employment opportunities and community facilities.
I was there with a colleague, supporters of the project and a journalist from Planning magazine who is writing a feature on High Bickington (I hope as an example of how local action and partnership working can deliver the amenities communities are calling for).
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Former council leader, now Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has spoken today about how the principles underpinning his Localism Bill can help transform our cities.
Speaking at The Economist’s Liveable Cities Conference, he outlined his belief that the bill’s key principle – handing power to local people – can be used to fuel economic growth in our metropolitan areas. Until now, most things I have heard or read about localism have focused on the impact of its policies on smaller, rural communities. But it is right to point out that local communities can be found in cities, and wherever people live.
So, the principle of giving city halls more responsibility for housing, planning and economic growth is as relevant to Bristol and Manchester as the grass-roots localism in action in High Bickington, Devon, where villagers are developing housing and community facilities which will be owned by a local group.
Victorian Birmingham and its leader Joseph Chamberlain was spoken of to evoke a vision of the city’s great heritage and global importance.
Today’s leaders will soon find out how well localism works in their cities. The full text of the speech, a vision for cities, can be found here.