Headlines: January 28th, 2003

Speakers at a conference organized by the Institute for Public Research will today pledge cross party support for proposals to build community at the local level. They will back a new IPPR report ‘Making Sense of Community’ which sets out research findings on the relationship between public policy and the community. The report makes recommendations across the key policy areas of: planning and development, provision for young people, crime reduction and policing, design and liveability and methods of delivery. They include requiring MPs and councillors to spend time living in the areas they represent, rewarding developers who embraced the sustainability agenda and modernisation of what was the youth club movement.Shadow Home Secretary Oliver Letwin will say that: ” We need to understand community as a natural society, spontaneously created, which can flourish only if the state provides a framework that prevents disorder and fear from inhibiting natural social activity. We need to understand crime and community as two opposing forces, one of which will overwhelm the other. If crime wins the struggle and criminals take possession of the street, the neighbourhood decays, the young are corrupted, people who can get out, people who can’t live blighted lives. We have to ensure this does not happen.”

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Simon Hughes will say: ” It is timely to reflect on the best strategy for enhancing communities of place. This work draws on research and assessment of three communities in Coventry and they provide a range of experience which is useful, and which could be paralleled in many other parts of the country. It is always wise to remember that there is no theology of success and that ideas for good community development are as diverse as the communities themselves. It is good, though, that the authors are very clear in stressing the centrality of community of place.”

Dr Victoria Nash, author of the report said: ” We are delighted at the level of commitment shown by the politicians, but more than lip service is required if all neighbourhoods in Britain are to enjoy trusting civil social relationships between residents.”

Link: http://www.ippr.org