Delivering the Big Society

During our localism event this week, Darren Richards, Executive Head of Planning and Transportation, of LB Sutton provided us with an overview of the Hackbridge Project, one element of the borough’s planned development in the years ahead.

With radical governance arrangements that prioritise community leadership and engagement at every level of the project, the Hackbridge Project is most noticeable for the scale of development envisaged. Unlike many big society initiatives, this is far from a niche project with a purely local radius of impact.

In total, the Hackbridge Project will deliver 1,500 new homes to the area, a Community Hub, including new a GP surgery, supermarket, and retail and community facilities and a new decentralised energy network for the surrounding area. There will also be a strong emphasis on environmental sustainability running throughout the project, including river restoration works and initiatives focussing on the greening of business, and the local food economy.

This is the big society implemented at scale, and it will be the success or otherwise of projects like this that will determine whether David Cameron’s vision for the big society delivery model has the capacity to make a real difference to regeneration and economic development.

For a presentation providing an overview of the Hackbridge Project, click here.