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How localism and experience from pioneers is playing out in rural England; key issues, lessons and learning Ivan Annibal.

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Presentation on theme: "How localism and experience from pioneers is playing out in rural England; key issues, lessons and learning Ivan Annibal."— Presentation transcript:

1 How localism and experience from pioneers is playing out in rural England; key issues, lessons and learning Ivan Annibal

2 Origins of Presentation My thinking about localislm Some factual information and a presentation on front-runner impressions partly from a PAS presentation Outcome of the Dawlish Inspection Rural Insight Survey 2 Bristol Accord and ACRE on sustainability

3 Philosophical Background

4 So What’s New? The Big Society.... is about liberation –the biggest, most dramatic redistribution of power from elites in Whitehall to the man and woman on the street.’ Hey you – you’re not their puppet on a string, you can do anything. Its true if you really want to, you can do anything you want to – just like I do!

5 New Rights and Powers Community Right to Challenge – to take over a service – has to listen, agree and procure – CCT 1997 Assets of Community Value – List of assets and the right – when they come up for sale - to bid for them – Quirk Review 2007 Local Referendums – must take the outcomes into account – Parish Polls Local Govt Act 1972 Right to approve or veto council tax – No increase 2012/13 – Capping since 1979 Duty to Cooperate- TINA

6 Public Services White Paper Neighbourhood Councils taking on local services - possible national framework Commissioned services - switch the default from one where the state provides the service itself to one where the state commissions the service from a range of diverse providers Local commissioning of: customer contact, planning, property, back office services, family support, looked after children, trading and environmental standards Employee ownership

7 Neighbourhood planning aims The Government is giving neighbourhoods greater ability to determine the shape of the places Empower communities Neighbourhood led Light-touch but robust Flexible - inspire innovation and creativity Pro-growth - exploring ways of enabling community supported development Critical role for local plan in setting strategic context New basis for partnership work with local authority

8 Neighbourhood Planning mechanisms Neighbourhood Development Plans: Communities can write a plan which, if passed, becomes part of the statutory planning framework for the area Neighbourhood Development Orders: Communities can agree to approve a particular development or type of development without the need for planning permission Community Right to Build: Whilst maintaining the principle of the green belt, communities will be able to develop land subject to doing the work and passing examination and referendum (via an NDO)


10 The basic conditions A Neighbourhood Plan must: –have appropriate regard to national policy –generally conform to the strategic elements of the local plan – be compatible with EU obligations – and be compatible with human rights obligations A Neighbourhood Development Order must also: –Have regard to the protection and enhancement of listed buildings and conservation areas

11 The Plan The Forum/Parish Council has to –publicise the proposals in the plan– bringing them to the attention of a majority of those who live, work or operate business in the neighbourhood area. –publish contact details for representations and information about the proposed timetable for consultation –consult any statutory consultees whose interests are affected Minimum 6 week consultation period

12 The independent check/examination Examiner must have appropriate qualifications, experience and meet other requirements in Act (e.g. independent) Appointed by LA but agreed with parish council/forum Looks at written representations and only if necessary will hold a public hearing Limited to considering whether proposals passed regulatory requirements (e.g. consultation) and whether neighbourhood plan/order meets ‘basic conditions’ (e.g. national policy) Report which summarises their findings.

13 Front runner work Over 100 authorities working on approaching 200 plans and development orders (waves 1-5) Mixture of parished & non-parished areas, commercial and residential DCLG/PAS/5 funded groups All shapes and sizes – comprehensive, England wide, coverage

14 Headline issues from front runner programme Enthusiasm – this is seen as a good thing Building on existing community groupings and community work (parish focus) Not anti-growth……..but not always pro- growth either Not always clear why a plan is being done, or what it will deliver Differences between parished and unparished areas

15 Front runner issues Housing: –growth (how much and where) –bringing empty/inadequate homes back into use –affordable housing provision –retirement village –self build

16 Front runner issues Inner city development pressures Town centres Preserving the character of neighbourhoods Local employment Physical & economic regeneration Lack of infrastructure Transport issues Rural isolation

17 Issues for a local authority Aligning with current plan-making work/adding value Understanding the ‘conform with the strategic elements’ of the plan - especially if there isn’t one Resourcing – ‘advise and support’ Cross boundary practicalities Arbitrating on neighbourhood areas and competing forums Ward councillor interest (especially in parished areas) Getting the community interested Behaviour change – ‘letting go’

18 Dawlish Consulted on draft plan Sept 2011 – 400 responses Prepared by mixture of people: council staff, town and county councillors, Conservation Trust, Youth Service, police, residents associations and others Steering group of 25 individuals with different interests Will inform the Teignbridge core strategy

19 Dawlish Vision and actions Sets out a vision for Dawlish over next 20 years – meeting housing need (and where), jobs and infrastructure 10 actions based around providing homes, job creation, supporting tourism, community facilities, public realm, town centre regeneration, improved accessibility, climate change mitigation, landscape and heritage, design quality

20 Dawlish Depression!!! [It] reflects the NPPF by providing a positive approach to plan-led growth to deliver sustainable development with the aim of producing clear economic, social and environmental benefits. However because of its timing in relation to the production of strategic policies it is not possible to demonstrate that the provision for housing growth is based on an objective assessment of housing need. This is a key flaw … which cannot be remedied until the Teignbridge District Council ’ s Core strategy/Local Plan is settled. While the DPNP is in broad conformity with the strategic policy of the Preferred Options Report, there are substantive differences in terms of both housing and employment land. While it may be possible to resolve these, particularly as the strategic policies remain to be settled, as currently drafted the two documents are in clear conflict …. While it is not a requirement that neighbourhood plans pass the ‘ test of soundness ’, my assessment..has found that it is neither positively prepared nor justified.

21 Forerunner 5: City of Ripon Ripon City Council will be leading the work on a new neighbourhood plan with other community groups from the City of Ripon and with the local planning authority Harrogate Borough Council. The new neighbourhood forum will involve members from Ripon City Council, the Ripon Chamber of Commerce, the Civic Society, Greater Ripon Improvement Partnership and the Chapter of Ripon Cathedral. Ripon will also be working with neighbouring parishes such as Sharow and Littlethorpe. Issues to be looked at include: revitalising the City Centre town centre management and use of empty shops the provision of community infrastructure taking advantage of opportunities for tourism and business growth new neighbourhood development orders to speed up development

22 Forerunner 5: Lubenham Lubenham Parish Council will be leading the preparation of a new neighbourhood development plan assisted by Harborough District Council. Lubenham is a large parish west of Market Harborough containing Lubenham village, HMP Gartree and an area of land identified for 1,000 houses to accommodate the growth of Market Harborough. The parish council wants to use the opportunity afforded by neighbourhood planning to help assess options and plan in detail where and how new housing development will occur in the parish. This approach is supported by the district council.

23 NPs Will be most effective where… There is a recently adopted core strategy; There is an organised community group already There is an issue to address (what’s the problem you are trying to solve?) A recognised need to plan for that development; A desire to help shape the development Good relationship between council (officers and councillors) and group (collaborative democracy) There is some form of resourcing


25 How Rural Are We? ONS states 27% of England’s population is rural. Using the OECD definition, about 10% of England’s population is considered rural. Is rural just a spatial concept? Only 1.1% of England is taken up for housing. Why do we cherish green-space so much? Is it because we have a “cottage garden” view of rurality because we are so urban focused in our habits and lifestyles? Is so what does that mean for those who determine what happens in rural England? – a charter to preserve or a means of stifling development in terms of planning??

26 Why communities will want one Statutory plan Set the ground rules for development in the area More detailed policy than might exist in the LDF Specify design quality Certainty (via NDOs) Conserve heritage and local character Bring community together??? Or splitting it apart???

27 Ongoing Dissonance Town and Country Planning Act 1947 nationalised the countryside To date too fluid a policy environment for local planning to work Some districts working off plans over a decade out of date, because the music never stopped long enough to meaningfully change them Often an in-balance between local wants and needs and the evidence or at least straightforward access to the evidence Planners often misinterpret the rural evidence – esp in terms of settlement hierarchies An in-balance between statutory adoption process and the “essential vernacular” Can a populist approach to planning overcome the technocrats who make our decisions for us or the wealthy “rural picklers?”

28 Rural Manifestations Large Parishes have a head start in terms of experience and structure Joining up smaller geographies to develop meaningful and properly resourced plans will be difficult The experience for smaller places can be: costly, complicated, attritional and ultimately unfulfilling We lose a focus on wider community led planning at our peril – the economy is the issue not the plan!

29 Rural Insight Survey 2012 – 1613 responses (57%)

30 A Vision of a Sustainable Community – Bristol Accord 2005

31 Key:ProcessOutcomeOutput The Community Action Plan Community activists Parish Council support Community finance 1. Community Led Plan process 2. Implementation route map through Big Society mechanisms – ACRE 2010 Research the solutions Gain volunteers Research needs & priorities Involve external stakeholders Raise community finance Community shop Affordable housing New village hall Renewable energy scheme Allotments/ community farm Open space Local Housing Trust OR community-supported development scheme Community shop Community buy out Assets of Community Value Wildlife area Community pub Heritage building Open space Negotiate with public service agencies Right to challenge Lunch club Transport scheme Youth club IT suite Clean room in village hall for outreach healthcare Good neighbour scheme Identify options and funding sources

32 My Advice Start by thinking about everything – not just “the stone in the shoe” Revisit or incorporate the community plan Take the opportunity to widen the community engagement in the process not just the referendum via the Neighbourhood Forum Be clear on the timescales, costs and risks – because, once the genie is out of the bottle.....

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