On a visit to a historic pub in Cardiff, the Welsh Liberal Democrats today announced that in government they will be pursuing a new law for community empowerment.
The Community Bill of Rights would contain a series of proposals for community councils and local authorities such as:
· Creating a new planning use for second homes and HMOs, so communities can decide how many they want in their area
· Giving protection to buildings that are of importance for social and cultural reasons, such as the Vulcan pub in Cardiff
· Creating a new listing system for village greens and other community spaces.
· Developing plans, similar to the Liberal Democrats in the UK Government, to restrict “garden-grabbing,” by designating gardens as greenfield sites in planning law so they cannot be built over so easily
· Developing a “Community Right to Buy” which would give community councils the automatic right to bid to take over services that local authorities are closing, such as leisure centres or libraries
· Making it easier for Community Councils to establish housing or small energy development, providing local services and providing an income for the Council
· Re-assert the role of community councils as leaders of communities with a power of general competence and refresh local democracy
Joining Nigel Howells on the visit was Jenny Randerson, former Cardiff Central Assembly Member, who has played a prominent role in Save the Vulcan campaign.
Nigel Howells, Welsh Liberal Democrat Cardiff Central Assembly Candidate said:
“The Welsh Liberal Democrats are proposing a Community Bill of Rights to ensure that every community in Wales has the power to decide how it should look in the future. We want to devolve power to local communities whereas the Labour-Plaid government want to make decisions over their future in a cosy Ministerial office in Cardiff.
“We want to give local councils the power to protect historic buildings with a social or community significance, such as historic pubs like the Vulcan Inn in Cardiff. They are best placed to put into action what local people want.
“Each Community Bill of Rights policy is worthwhile on its own, but delivered together it would constitute greater power handed over to local people and communities across Wales.
“The overwhelming ‘Yes’ vote in last month’s devolution referendum proved that the people of Wales want more say in how their communities are run and the Welsh Liberal Democrats can deliver that.”