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Place Plan Prospectus
“We need more affordable housing”
“We need better public transport and cycle routes”
“We need more jobs”
“We need cleaner places, people care about”
Go to any place in Wales, city town or village, and talk to any business owner, community group, parent at the school gate or person in the street about the place where they live and at least one, if not more, of these requests will be highlighted.
People care about the places they come from, where they live and want to know that things will get better for themselves, their families and future generations.
When asked about who they see as providing leadership in tackling local issues most will point to “ the council” , some might point to “ the government” and a significant number will say “I don’t know”. Asked further if they know about any existing plans by any organisation to tackle these issues and unsurprisingly most will shrug their shoulders and look blank faced.
This disconnect between what people see as important and any sense of control or influence over how things might improve is at the centre of the reasons behind the so called democratic deficit, not just in Wales, but across the UK. One the reasons cited for so many people voting to leave the EU is the sense of “not being heard” and as importantly their lives, their families and places, not being seen as gaining from being part of the EU.
Recent changes in planning and well being legislation in Wales and proposed changes to way in which councils work will have a significant impact on the way in which local communities interact with all public sector bodies and the services they provide.
Some places have already begun to use these changes to good effect, by developing Place Plans, as a way of reconnecting with local people, identifying, in a rational and systematic, but also in a representative and inclusive way, what local concerns there are and how things might change to address these. This information is then used to join up the efforts of different organisations and sometimes different departments within organisations to better target scare resources to me local needs.
Place plans can be viewed as bringing together two important objectives from two key pieces of legislation.
- The Planning Wales Act 2015 which seeks to encourage greater community involvement in local planning
- The Well Being of Future Generations Act 2015 which requires public bodies to demonstrate how the decisions they make and the money they spend takes account of the needs of future generations and help meet a set of national well being goals.
Developed through extensive community consultation and using all available statistical data, Place Plans can provide a more local finer level of detail on specific issues such as housing need, views on specific development sites to supplement the adopted county Local Development Plan (Positive Planning Implementation Plan Welsh Government Dec 2015).
They can also put in the public domain what the evidence based priorities for action will be in improving local prosperity, health and the local environment as well as who will take the lead in making things better.
Who might want to commission a Place Plan and why?
Town and Community Councils
To have a greater influence over potential development in the local area
To inform priorities for the use of any Community Infrastructure Levy
To meet their duty under the Well Being of Future Generations Act to demonstrate how they contribute to achieving national and local well being goals
To identify the key changes local people highlight, that the TCC could lead on implementing and the sources of funding to do this
To provide evidence to lobby for changes in the way county resources are allocated and services are provided
Place plans pay for themselves many times over in terms of increased funding and investment accessed
Local authority Public Service Board leads
To help secure community area engagement in the development of Well Being and HSSWB needs assessments
To establish community area arrangements for delivering actions set out in Well Being Plans
To provide local monitoring information and ongoing engagement processes for assessing progress on delivering Well Being Plan goals and supporting actions
Local authority Planning departments
To encourage greater community involvement in planning to help people shape their localities
To provide more detailed thematic and site specific guidance to supplement LDP plans and policies
To help inform decisions regarding Community Infrastructure levy spending
Development Trusts, Local regeneration partnerships, local business forums
To help support a business case for funding a specific project
To assist with lobbying for important changes to their local area
To act a mechanism for bringing people and agencies together to deliver on identified priorities
Sustainable Regeneration Solutions and The Urbanists are two Welsh “place making” organisations that have come together to offer a comprehensive package of support in the development, implementation and ongoing monitoring of Place Plans.
1.Development of Place Plans
These elements are available as an overall package or as distinct elements as required by local stakeholders
Date Profile – Collation of all latest available statistical data to produce a data profile of the whole area and distinct communities within it, comparing key information (housing, employment, health) with county and national averages to identify local strengths and deficits.
Fig 1 Infographic of local data
Local Development Plan place audit – Review of key LDP themes and specific sites highlighting issues for further research and or consultation as the apply to the area in question
Community engagement – A customised programme of community engagement designed to secure a representative cross section of local opinion and establish arrangement for ongoing dialogue. Methods of engagement include community workshops, business events, school gate surveys, online self completion questionnaires, vox pops and high street canvassing. We take great care to develop specific methods of engaging with harder to reach groups as identified by the data profile. All our techniques are developed in line the National Principles for Public Engagement set out by Participation Cymru and all methods can be delivered bi –lingually.
The workshops follow a format of sharing key issues from the data profile and LDP place audit to enable discussion on community priorities and potential actions.
Synthesis of data, audit and community feedback – Analysis of all research data to establish key issues and proposed actions under each of the national Well Being goals
Engagement with mainstream service providers – Collective Workshop sessions with key service managers with a community area responsibility; health, social services environmental services, police, economic development to discuss research findings, confirm the scope and scale of any existing or planned responses to tackle key issues, agree any additional local actions or project responses along with designated leads for these.
A Place plan with an accompanying three year action plan – A final document clearly setting out the quantitative and qualitative evidence base informing priorities, the actions to be taken and the location of resources to make change happen , providing further information on the local planning context to help inform Community Infrastructure Levy spend, aligned to the national Well Being goals.
2. Implementation of Place Plans
As part of the Place plan development process we would seek to identify resources to put in place capacity at the local level to assist communities with implementing the actions set out in the plan. Where needed we can provide hourly and daily bespoke support to take forward specific projects in terms of making funding applications or establishing delivery partnerships.
3. Monitoring of Place Plans
As part of the Place Plan development process a set of key indicators of Well Being would be established to supplement any specific milestones for progress set out in the three year action plan.
We can undertake bi annual reviews of overall progress with implementation of the Place Plan in terms of ongoing engagement, collaborative working and individual project progress and annual update of the data profile to assess measurable progress towards improving Well Being.
Llanelli Rural Council –Whole Place Plan
- We have recently completed a Place Plan for Llanelli Rural council where all of the elements the a Whole Place approach were deployed. The Place plan sets out a vision for the area and the key actions to address local issues are set out as contributions to the national well being goals. The process took around 4 months and the area now has a plan which sets out short, medium and long term actions to achieve the vision. All the key local agencies actively contributed to the development of the plan and will be supporting the key actions by adapting core services or working with the council to do things differently. Over 300 people took part in surveys and workshops and members of the council were closely involved throughout.
- Since adopting the plan the rural council has accessed funding to launch a system of “Time Credits” across the area where local people are rewarded for taking part in local clean ups and other voluntary work and seen a dramatic increase in activities provided in local community halls
Mark Galbraith – Clerk of the Council said – “We were delighted with the support we had from Chris Ashman in developing our Whole Place plan for the Llanelli Rural area. We are now in an excellent position to work with partners and our communities in addressing the national well being goals, but most importantly undertaking practical steps to make the lives of local people better”.
Seven for Severnside and Bryn Y Cwm (Abergavenny) Place Plans
Monmouthshire County Council commissioned Place Plans for two of its Community Areas in 2012 and 2013 from Sustainable Regeneration Solutions.
Since their initial development local councils and community groups have continued to refine and shape the local priroties set out in these plans for local economic, social and environmental change. A Wales Audit office review of this initiative published in 2014 welcomed the approach and recommended increasing corporate commitment to their implementation