News in Brief 22 April 2016

The latest news, views and more from around rural Yorkshire or that have an impact on charities and community groups in our area.

Housing and Planning

The date for this year’s National Rural Housing Conference has been announced as Tuesday 12 July. We’ll add more details to our event calendar as they become available. The event will be a key part of this year’s Rural Housing Week, which runs from 11 to 15 July.

The House of Commons Communities and Local Government Select Committee has called for national planning policy to be reviewed before the end of the current parliament, after completing an inquiry which identified a lack of proper monitoring or evaluation of the new National Planning Policy Framework, which came into force in 2012. In particular, the Committee think more should be done to ensure that policy is enabling local housing need to be met, and called on the Government to do more to ensure local councils create and adopt Local Plans. RSNOnline, 1 April.

Meanwhile, the Government has published a Technical Consultation on the detail of regulations that will govern the implementation of the Housing and Planning Bill’s Starter Homes requirement. The consultation documents can be viewed on the Government website. The consultation is open until Wednesday 18 May 2016.

Transport

The Department for Transport is currently consulting on its draft Walking and Cycling Policy, which will guide efforts in pursuit of the government’s policy aim of creating “a walking and cycling nation”. As with all transport policy, it is vital that a rural voice is heard. The consultation closes on 23 May 2016. A series of consultation events are taking place around the country, including one in Leeds on 17 May. Government consultation page.  

Society

North Yorkshire Police are calling for volunteers in the Selby area to take part in the Rural Watch programme and help prevent rural crime. Volunteers will use their observation skills to report suspect incidents / individuals to the Force Control Room and help act as a known deterrent and provide public reassurance. Applications for the post close on Monday 25 April. North Yorkshire Police Volunteering website.

Agriculture

The Public Accounts Committee has published a report which claims that delays in payments being made to farmers under the new Basic Payments Scheme are due in part to “a childish turf war”. The report says that the inability of the responsible government department, Defra, the Rural Payments Agency and the Government Digital Service to work together was part of the reason that the proposed introduction of a new online system for payments has been postponed and seen its costs rise by 40%. Farmer’s Weekly, 2 March.

Meanwhile, the Rural Payments Agency has announced that bridging payments will be made to the 10% of farmers who have yet to receive their 2015 Basic Payments Scheme money. Government website, 20 April.

Community

Rural Action Yorkshire is working with Richmondshire District Council to plan a ‘Made in North Richmondshire’ event later this year. The event will be a showcase for the vast amount of voluntary and community-based activity that happens in the area. It will be your opportunity to find out about community groups and projects in the area, or, if you run a community group or project, to let people know about what you do! The date and location are yet to be confirmed. If your club, community group, project or charity would be interested in attending the event, please contact Chloe Lewis at Richmondshire District Council on 01748 901038 or via email.

A community library in Barlby, near Selby, which was saved from closure by volunteers, has proved so successful it is now looking to expand and become a hub for all kinds of community activity. York Press, 13 April.

A North Yorkshire man’s ashes are to be scattered on Roseberry Topping, the distinctive hill on the edge of the North York Moors, because he climbed it six times a week for the last twenty years despite failing health and in all weathers, ascending the equivalent of 220 times the height of Mount Everest in the process. Daily Telegraph, 2 March.

Charity Governance

HM Revenue and Customs have launched a consultation on proposed changes to the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme. The proposals include reducing the qualifying period for the scheme to one year, simplifying rules for charities that collect donations while running activities in community buildings (ie not their own premises) and the rules around connected charities. The consultation is open on the Government website until Friday 1 July 2016. Civil Society, 21 April.

Another consultation of interest has been launched by the Government on plans to introduce a simple means for charities that are currently established as Limited Companies or Community Interest Companies to convert to the Charitable Incorporated Organisation structure. The consultation documents can be viewed on the Government website and are open to comment until Friday 10 June 2016.

Other consultations

The Government have announced a consultation on options to pursue its policy of privatising the Land Registry, which registers the ownership of land in England and Wales. This consultation is of obvious interest to village halls and other community organisations that have an interest in property, but also of wider interest especially given recent revelations about the amount of UK property which is owned by shell companies registered in tax havens. The consultation closes on 26 May 2016. Government consultation page.