EDDC opts to support Sustainable Communities

EAST Devon District Council is committed to taking up the opportunities offered by the newly introduced Sustainable Communities Act.

EAST Devon District Council is committed to taking up the opportunities offered by the newly introduced Sustainable Communities Act. Although councils do not have a legal duty to support the Act, EDDC has chosen to do so and it is now looking for residents' help in putting forward proposals for action to Government.

The Sustainable Communities Act aims to divert power and funding from central government and passes it to councils and local people, giving them a new opportunity to improve their local communities.

Ideas about what Government could change to help communities be more sustainable may be submitted by anyone, but they must fit three criteria:

* They must improve the 'sustainability' of the local community. Sustainability can cover anything which improves the economic, social or environmental well-being of the area; or promotes participation in civic or political activity. The Act aims to encourage a broad range of ideas.

* They must require action from central government, such as a change in legislation; a transfer of responsibilities from one public body to another; a new national policy; or a change or strengthening of an existing policy.

* They must be based within, or of specific relevance to, communities in East Devon.

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Proposals could be ideas like:

* That government reduce the restrictions on councils regarding how they spend granted money so that they can choose to spend it on locally decided priorities, e.g. Post Offices and other public services provision

* That government allow councils to keep all the rent collected on council properties to be spent on improving council housing, reducing those houses environmental impact and investing in new affordable housing.

To submit your proposals you can fill in an online form on the Council's website (www.eastdevon.gov.uk/sustainablecommunitiesact ) or you can phone the Communications Team on (01395) 517 569 to ask for a paper copy of the form to be posted to you.

All your proposals should be submitted by 22 June. The proposals will then go to a panel of local people to be discussed and short-listed. The short-list will be discussed by one of the Council's committees to decide which will then be forwarded onto the Local Government Association (LGA) on 31 July. The LGA will discuss them with the Secretary of State, who has the final say on which proposals will be implemented.

There is brief information about the Act on the Council's website, to find out even more about the Sustainable Communities Act visit:

* Local Works- www.localworks.org

* The Local Government Association- www.lga.gov.uk/lga/core/page.do?pageId=1293641

* The Department for Communities and Local Government- www.communities.gov.uk/publications/localgovernment/sustainablecommunitiesact