A Community Right to Beauty: Giving communities the power to shape, enhance and create beautiful places, developments and spaces
Published by ResPublica in July 2015
This report argues for a Community Right to Beauty to give communities more powers and incentives to shape, enhance and create beautiful places. Our national policy framework protects existing beautiful places but does not address the new beauty that could be created in our everyday landscapes.
Research shows that people highly value beautiful places, spaces and developments. Living in a beautiful area makes them feel healthier, both physically and mentally, and they experience lower crime rates, yet access to beauty is limited, particularly for the least wealthy in society. Failure to recognise the value of beautiful places is economically and socially damaging. The proposals in this report could unlock a multitude of benefits for communities across the UK.
• Overall only 54% of people felt they had access to beautiful places, dropping to just 45% among those in social rented property.
• Neighbourhood Forums or Town and Parish Councils should have a Community Right to Beauty with the powers to:
- Democratically challenge new development on grounds of beauty, not to prevent development but to enhance it
- Call for the improvement of derelict, void or unsightly buildings or spaces and take on their ownership or management to do so where necessary
- Protect, maintain and improve local cherished, beautiful buildings and green spaces, especially where they have no existing legal protection
- Genuinely shape, preserve and enhance their local area, beyond the existing powers of the Localism Act 2011.
• In order to put these principles into practice, the report makes the following policy recommendations:
- Make beauty a material consideration in planning and development policy, and introduce local Citizens’ Juries
- Designate buildings, spaces and places as sites to both preserve and develop new beauty, introducing Areas of Outstanding Urban Beauty. Community Improvement Districts and enhanced rights for communities to control local development
- Introduce fiscal incentives for improving derelict, void or unsightly buildings or spaces, reward developers to build schemes the local community support, and enable communities to benefit financially from improving their neighbourhood.
You can read and download the report here.
The Parks Alliance attended the launch of the report, on 23 July 2015. Read more.