Headlines: April 8th, 2010

Ten ideas to benefit communities submitted by local councils have received government backing.

Communities and Local Government chose the ‘Top Ten’ ideas, which will receive Government support.

They have been chosen because the department believes they offer the best potential to bring real benefits to the community, address genuine local concerns and maximise their impact by building on existing Government initiatives.

Among the ideas being explored are relaxing rules on road sign lighting to cut energy costs, employing single teams of wardens empowered to deal with all civil enforcement issues and a lorry park in Kent to minimise disruption if there are problems at Channel ports.

Ideas for supporting communities cames from Islington, which wants to make it compulsory for owners of empty business premises to talk to councils about the possibility of premises being used by the community, if they have been empty for 6 months. Wirral and South Hams councils asked for communities to have the right to buy privately or publicly owned assets that are for sale in order to develop opportunities for community benefit. Other councils wanted action to address the problem of large pub and retail companies imposing restrictive covenants on pubs preventing them from continuing as pubs when sold.

At the other end of the scale, Brighton and Hove put forward proposals to allow gardeners to sell surplus produce to local and markets. The Government says it will clarify that there are no legal restrictions preventing gardeners selling genuine surplus produce.