Stewardship options

Long-term stewardship of a new community can take many forms, ranging from traditional management by a local authority through to the creation of a wholly new organisation with a specific responsibility to maintain the quality of the new community into the future.

Canal in HackneyThere are a range of options for long-term stewardshipGlossary: refers, in this context, to the ongoing process of managing, maintaining and tending a community. Some of these are:

Local authorities

Local authorities are the primary place-management body in any area. They could choose to manage new settlements in the same way they manage existing communities within their boundaries, including maintaining public space and providing local services such as refuse collection.

Local authority initiatives

Another option might be for a local authority to manage a locality through a specific initiative focused on a particular new or existing neighbourhood. This might be a neighbourhood charterGlossary: A neighbourhood (or local) charter is a voluntary partnership agreement between a community, the local authority and other service providers, where residents and the council both agree a 'contract' of responsibilities, or a neighbourhood managementGlossary: is a process of coordinating public service delivery at a local level initiative which seeks to join up activities at the local level.

Parish / community council

Some communities might wish to have a lower tier of government, where elected membersGlossary: Elected members of local authorities are also known as councillors of a parish or community council have decision-making powers to manage local assets like parks, community buildings and recreation grounds. Such councils are able to generate money from charges to local residents (known as precepts).

Development Trust

Independent third sectorGlossary: refers to organisations are those that operate independently on a not-for-profit basis, usually defined as voluntary and community organisations, charities, social enterprises, mutuals or co-operatives organisations, community owned and controlled and often charitable, can be set up or brought in to manage assets and use any profits gained for activities that benefit the community. Local residents are usually represented on the organisation's board and make up its membership base.
A management organisation, sometimes a private company, can be contracted to oversee the management of the public realm in a development. This organisation could be a social enterpriseGlossary: A social enterprise is a profit-making businesses set up to tackle a social or environmental need.

Housing associations

Some housing associations provide services to communities beyond their role as social landlords. They might be contracted by a local authority to maintain the public realm or run community centres. They might themselves own these assets if they are facilities they themselves have built as part of their own housing development.

Energy / utility company

In some new developments technologies such as solar panels or combined heat and powerGlossary: Combined Heat and Power (CHP) is the simultaneous generation of usable heat and power (usually electricity) in a single process systems could be managed by an independent energy or utility company. The advantage with this model is that these organisations produce green energy for sale to residents at a below market rate, and can sometimes be required to contribute a tariff or 'titheGlossary: is a levy, usually made as a voluntary contribution to an organisation' for community benefit in the form of a 'community chestGlossary: is a fund managed for the benefit of a community which makes money available to finance activities for local people'.

Parks Trust

Where there are considerable areas of public open space a specialist parks trust may be employed to manage this space and can generate an income from the land which it can then use to maintain the public realm. Milton Keynes has a Parks Trust.

The Land Restoration Trust 

The Land Restoration Trust was established in 2003 by English PartnershipsGlossary: English Partnerships was the national regeneration agency, which merged with the Housing Corporation in December 2008 to form the new Homes and Communities Agency (now part of The Homes and Communities Agency), Groundwork, Forestry Commission, Environment Agency, to facilitate community-led regeneration of derelict, neglected or under-used land (often without a commercial use), in order to contribute to the economic, social and health prospects of a community. The Land Restoration Trust is improving the environment and quality of life for communities by providing long-term sustainable management of public spaces across England. The current approach is for the LRT to acquire and secure funding packages for the green open space/infrastructure or public realm. It then establishs the most appropriate way of achieving maximum local benefits from the restoration and long-term maintenance of these open spaces. This will be done by identifying and working with local management partners who, along with the Trust, will engage the principles of community involvement and ecological understanding to establish the correct solutions for each individual open space, often increasing the public accessibility to open space. A list of sites, their history and current management and uses can be found on the LRT website.


(This list is not exhaustive)