Community-led Planning: Best Practice Guide for Local Authorities
As we all know, our political and, arguably, our cultural landscape is changing rapidly. The current Government’s promotion of localism and significant cuts in spending draw a line in the sand as far as top-down service delivery and the final say over land use are concerned.
Whereas the previous Government placed a responsibility on local authorities to ‘inform, consult and involve’ communities, the emphasis is now very clearly on community empowerment. Where they were once providers and carers, local authorities now find themselves called on to ‘enable’ communities by responding to and supporting local action and, it is in this context that the value of community-led planning (CLP) to local authorities is now brought into sharp relief.
The potential benefits from developing a CLP have long since been understood by the rural communities who have developed them over the past 30 years or so and, indeed by some local authorities. Not only have such plans proved to strengthen community cohesion and trigger a durable interest and pride of people in where they live, but, more pertinently, they result in tangible actions that communities can undertake themselves – a fair definition of empowerment, in fact.
To help local authorities recognise what benefits they may derive from supporting CLPs and how they can play an active role in supporting the process, ACRE* and AMT** have produced a guide, ‘Making the most of Community Led Planning: a best practice guide for local authorities.’
This is not a hefty tome, but a neat, comprehensive and clearly structured reference. It explains CLP and its relevance to the Localism agenda. It outlines, the accepted process through which quality plans are developed, who the ‘main players’ are and the roles they play at each stage of that process. It defines the key mutual benefits, ie to local authorities and communities alike, giving examples of how, by actively engaging with CLP activity in their areas, some local authorities have already made good use of the evidence plans produce to better inform their strategic planning.
The guide is developed from extensive research with local authorities experienced in using CLP as a method of working with communities to improve neighbourhoods and includes a Foreword by Greg Clark MP. The second half gives best practice examples of the practical measures these authorities have taken to make the most of CLP.
To view or download the guide, click here
* ACRE: Action with Rural Communities in England
** AMT: Action for Market Towns