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May 2011

May 2011


An evolving Rough Guide to Neighbourhood Planning & Vitality


An evolving Rough Guide to Neighbourhood Planning & Vitality Issue 1: Practical tips, start-up & work-up phase.

D I S C O V E R . . .

The Government is bringing in significant changes to the planning system which, if used, will enable residents to have far greater planning controls over what gets built and improved in their area. The Localism Bill*, once enacted, will introduce Neighbourhood Development Plans* and Neighbourhood Development Orders* as new types of planning policy tools. Overall, the content and detail of these new tools will vary significantly across the country, depending on a range of factors, that are difficult to determine at this stage, and as such are not covered in this guide. However, we believe, that the way people work together, and indeed, the ability to engage positively with many people throughout the plan-making process and beyond, will be of critical importance for the effectiveness of Neighbourhood Planning. In that sense, we think a great Neighbourhood Plan and its delivery contributes to the vitality of the Neighbourhood and its wider locality in economic, social, environmental and governance terms.

But where do you start?

We have made a start on creating what we call a Rough Guide to Neighbourhood Planning & Vitality with the objective of providing principles, ideas and tips to support those who want to get on with it. The guide will evolve in response to the provisions of the Localism Bill, great ideas we stumble upon and indeed your stories on what works and what could be improved. We’d like to encourage you to share your experiences on the Neighbourhood Planning LinkedIn Group.

What is it?

The Rough Guide is an evolving storyboard that tries to make sense of the emerging new Neighbourhood Planning world. Neighbourhood Forums/Parish Councils* and investors could seek the opportunity to take greater control over the future shape of an area. However, in departing on this journey with many other people and groups, it is important that all are relaxed about the final destination. While individuals are after a rewarding experience generally, they also have their own particular interests, that they expect to see addressed, at least partly. These interests get shaped by the way people work together and that is where good dialogue and bright ideas can lead to better collaboration, workable solutions and greater neighbourhood vitality.

D R E What this Rough Guide doesn’t do? A M . . . Good place-making was always about places & people! D E S I G N . . Bright ideas make good . plans, places &

Local Business(es)

For good measure we have also added and will continue to add more of our favourite weblinks, books, blogs, quotes, videos into the mix.

Health centre (s) Youth Club(s) School(s)


The Big Green Challenge:The people powered innovation prize, supported by Nesta Tactical Urbanism by The Street Plans Collaborative Tactical-Urbanism-Final Street DIY Guide by Sustrans e%20guide.pdf

Trevor, 52, Property Agent

I work locally and think that my business will benefit from an improved area and therefore I get involved and help out. I also think it’s good to get to know people locally.

Sam, 54, Planner

I am a planning officer at the Council and my role is to support local groups to prepare neighbourhood plans. I can help by providing information on the process you need to follow, data you may need, advice on how to maximise your chance of success, as well as signpost you to other sources of help which may be available to you.

Mary, 29, landowner

I own some land and buildings locally and would like to develop them without preparing a lengthy application.

Rasheed 32, Resident

My wife and I run a local garden centre and have a bit of underused land I would be happy to see it developed. I believe from what we learnt a Neighbourhood Plan or Neighbourhood Development Order could make this happen faster.

Alister, 66, Resident I am a retired Architect and would like to help the area.

d) How can we work and engage with the whole community? > Draft your C0-DESIGN Strategy


Step 2

Please google spaceshaper to find more info!

Large Gathering 02

Researching Good Practice Guides @ * * 20110118095356/ * Shaping Neighourhoods by H. Barton,M. Grant, R.Guise (1st, 2nd edition)

n... Fishbowl Sessio


Discover & Dream

... At an unusual venue. ... Discover what works well & what could work better. Draw/map it out. ... Start and finish a local improvement project on the day. ... Draft your Vision&Objectives make it your Neighbourhood Charter. ... Nominate your core team and sign your consititution. ... Start raising funds from those that might benefit from the delivery of the Plan ... Decide together on next steps.

Play, explore and improvise!

Make the Future...

Théâtre Carbonique | Theatre for Environmental Education

....How about using Blurb’s free creative storytelling application for iphone to let people make and share stories about the area…

This theatre group for environmental and social education seeks to make a difference by educating people in an entertaining way. It’s action theatre and coaching on carbon footprint, how to implement change or a collective vision. It’s a lot of serious fun. :-)

Play, explore and improvise!


Spaceshaper encourages people to demand more from their local spaces

Many cities are full of vacant storefronts and people who need things. These stickers are an easy tool to voice what you want, where you want it. Just fill them out and put them on abandoned buildings and beyond. The stickers are custom vinyl and they can be easily removed without damaging property. It's a fun, low-barrier tool to provide civic input on-site, and the responses reflect the hopes, dreams, and colorful imaginations of different neighbours.

Visualise them. On a big scale.

i) How could a Design charrette type format help us to include more people in the development process (e.g. design games)?

SpaceShaper A practical toolkit to measure the quality of a public space before investing time and money in improving it.

I wish this was | ... The core of all good processes are the great conversations that are taking place.

h) How can the plan contribute to more sustainable lifestyle choices?

Ask your case officer to talk about the things they always wanted to see happen ... but it never did.

...WE could do so much better here in our neighbourhood! ...Let’s do it!

g) What can we learn from good examples from elsewhere? Can we see and meet people there?

The world's easiest, simplest community involvement method ...probably!

Ask the local council to provide you with: * A set of hard copy and digital maps. * A tailored policy and design guidance review covering all local policies and standards relevant to your locality. * A map and table with contact details of all landowners, service providers, community organisations and businesses. * An agreement with the Council on disseminating information to all residents through-out the process. * A list of planning applications & print-outs of submitted outline and full planning applications. * A list of all new examplar developments/infills/restorations nearby. * A qualified and dedicated officer within the Local Council. Your single port of enquiries.

Play, explore and improvise!

f) What kind of plan/training/knowledge/contacts do we need to translate the Vision into positive change on the ground?



e) How much local support, including from those that own land and assets, do we have for the Draft Charter (Vision&Objectives)?

The power of really good questions ...

Big Lunch is about getting as many people as possible from a neighbourhood to gather around one table, sharing thoughts, ideas, stories -and a meal. Big Lunches are easy to set up as families simply cook food, bring chairs & tables and go out on the street to celebrate!

e Play, explor ise! and improv

Large Gathering 01

j) What can we change to make our Neighbourhood Development Plans/Orders and Action Plans compliant? k) Who locally can provide investment supporting the delivery of improvements? k) Are there projects in the plan that could attract larger investors? l) Which projects can happen anyway via other planning procedures or private initiatives?

... I’d like to make a difference by improving the area today... whatever the big plan for the future is!...

m) What can we change to make it easier to deliver the Plan/Order & Action Programme?


Large Gathering 03

World Cafe gathering...

Learn from others!

... Invite local businesses to print the Neighbourhood Charter on their wrapping paper. Make it visually inspiring and relevant. This way everybody in the area will see the Charter and can discuss it.

Play, explore and improvise!

Organise a programme of regular study tours, webinars and talks down at the local centre or your pub.

Project idea from the TreePeople | Urban Community Forestry Project TreePeople is about gathering the community around planting trees and improving environmental awareness. In these organised events, they plant small forests, use modern technology and learn about all things trees.

Learning about Design Charrettes

Sustainable community planning and development: design charrette planning guide @ Enquiry by Design Guide from Princes Foundation @ df

Get ready for your fabulous Design adventure!

Powerpoint made exciting again … by people that talk about what matters to them.

p) Who else can help us spread the word about the good work so far?


And the fun theory works! See for yourself. Many thanks to Astrid Fetell for the article on ‘In defence of delight’

Tole-rants | Web Platform on Social Issues

A PechaKucha 20x20 styles event.

This web platform is all about solving social problems, recognised by community members, and promoting brief speeches that suggest why they care and potential solutions. They are usually taken in form of a 60 sec heartfelt video, a so-called tole-rant.

Grow it, See it, Smell it, Eat it! | (Organic) Food Growing & Purchase & Enjoying This project aims at utilised local allotment & gardening spaces. Local people learn new skills & grow & enjoy food, maybe even in a competitive way :-) ! In a pop-up shop, a cornershop or local farmer’s market this locally grown food can then be inspected & admired & purchased&eaten. There are many projects like this around. Check out for instance

Make it visually inspiring and relevant. This way everybody in the area will see the plan and can discuss it.

Large Gathering 04

...I enjoyed meeting all my ‘new’ neighbours and brought some friends along for today’s public works project too. We need all hands on deck!... We’ll attend the planning exhibition as well...

... Invite local businesses to print the Neighbourhood Charter and Draft Plan on their wrapping paper/ bags etc.


Simon 32, Resident Association

We prepared a village design statement a couple of years ago. However, as useful as it is to influence the style of development, it does not enable us to have any real influence on what type of development actually takes place. There is a desperate need for a redevelopment of the village hall and changing rooms on the recreation ground. A Neighbourhood Development Order will make it easier get it done.

Kathy,47, Developer

We heard that the community might like to see some new homes built on plots of land currently occupied by derelict buildings. I would like to speak to local people to understand their needs and see whether there is a commercially attractive opportunity and if so, how I may be able to help them prepare a neighbourhood plan or order. This could save me time and money by avoiding the need for me to submit a lengthy planning application.

We made a start, but really, we hope you’ll share your WHYs with us and others at the Neighbourhood Planning Linkedin Group.

Some great reads/watches. Hand Made: Portraits of emergent new community culture, written by 28 authors and edited Tessy Britton In defence of delight, article by Astrid Fetell The Change Handbook: The Definitive Resource to Today's Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems. The compendium for the Civic Economy, Design Council CABE/Nesta Redefining Apathy: Dave Meslin at TED 3 ways the brain creates meaning: Tom Wujec at TED

c ImaginePlaces Ltd. 2011

C H E C K . . . C O N S I D E R

o) Are we really talking & listening to all affected? Are we telling the story well enough?


... Let a range of people tell the story of possible futures including the landowners and external investors ... Let people sign up to the charter (vision&objectives&actions). ... Start and finish a local improvement project on the day/weekend ... How about a local BBQ with local music? ... Organise an exhibition lasting for a couple of weeks. Consider holding a public planning and design review of the outputs of the day (Charter, analysis/plans, design principles/3D models) and invite people to comment and vote on them. Learn why some of them are popular and others aren’t. ... Decide together on next steps.

Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiatives: Scottish Charrette Series @ arretteSeries

n) How can citizens get involved in delivering parts of the Plan & its Action Programme early on?

... How about using free Sketch-Up software and google buildingmaker for a local design initiative. Make it a competition with a prize money.

q) HOW can we access more investment? r) How could we have done a better job?

s) Which approved development can be delivered first?

Neighbourhood Dev. Plan&Orders

(fully or partly ADOPTED)

t) How can local businesses get more involved? u) How can we foster local skills development? v) Which approved development will be next?

w) How can local organisations get even more involved ? x to xx) ...

LoveLocal | Making local business count! Supporting local businesses and services is important. Check out LoveLocal for ideas how to go about it.

Check out for many many more methods/tips and, and, and. A great resource!



...I am off to our local BBQ and the referendum...

... Launch of the Draft Plan + Develpment Orders + Actions + 3D model exhibition. ... Public presentation of independant Examination. ... Log referendum with Local Council. ... Door-step and online compaign for referendum day starts. ... Amendments to plan made mostly on the day. ... Explain what’ll happen next. .

101 civic ideas by Civic Voice.

Clare, 67, Resident

The Big Lunch | Community Lunch Event


Four of our favourite ‘idea books’:

I am a retired teacher and would like to help out where I can.

c) What help/resources do we need and who can help to develop and deliver the right Plan & Action Programme?

Learning about good place-making!

Making good things happen!

ce... Open Spa

working parties

We’ve started to assemble practical project ideas, tools and formats that might inspire you to try something new. You’ll find them on the travel tips under the hot air balloon’. You have your own ones? We thought so. Please share.

I am a local restaurant owner, play football in the local club and care about my familiy. I get involved because our centre needs a bus stop, more jobs and some serious TLC.

b) How do we want to work with each other? > Draft your CONSTITUTION


Meeting differently!

We hope you find the Rough Guide a thought provoking and useful resource and we look forward to hearing how you think it could be further developed.

Will, 36, Resident

a) What kind of place do we want to plan for? > Draft your CHARTER


We consider lasting partnerships forged between residents, landowners, local organisations and businesses, councils, elected representatives and investors as the most important outcome of the new neighbourhood planning process. The adopted Plan itself should perhaps been seen more as a by-product, albeit an important one.

Anne, 64, Councillor


Let’s get on with it!...

The biggest change in local governance lies possibly in the opportunity of a ‘pact’ between landowners and residents to plan and deliver better homes, more jobs and valued amenities. It’s a move from fixing problems to enabling solutions. This approach puts collaboration, learning, innovation, doing and importantly, people at centre-stage, as they are the change makers.

I don’t think the Council’s Local Plan gives sufficient consideration to the needs of the ward I represent; I’d like to encourage my constituents to take advantage of the opportunity offered by Neighbourhood Plans to demonstrate what could be achieved with the right policies in place. I get involved to ensure the community gets the support they are entitled to.

Community & Civic organisations (s)

What future can WE make

Neighbourhood Planning provides an exciting opportunity to bring about a new relationship between people including landowners and investors, policy-makers and places.

Making local improvements happen while you plan for the future is really important. People get to know each other, talk about what could be done and you all make a tangible difference right from the start.

Garden Club (s) & Allotment Association (s) Landowner (s)

Residents Association(s)

• Clarifying some of the key challenges ahead • Breaking the journey down into 6 stages • Providing ideas for a more enjoyable journey • Posing some key guiding questions • Arming you with ample travel tips for the journey • Giving stories from other neighbourhoods’ travel experiences

Therefore, this Rough Guide can’t provide detailed directions on what is right or best for your journey, but it does offer some stories, provides a couple of thoughts and tools that might be useful as well as inspire you to try something a little different.

s ce a Pl


gi a m


D I S C O V E R . . .

Councillor(s) Developer (s)

Housing Association (s)

The Rough Guide helps you along this journey by:

We are acutely aware of the fact that sometimes the best stories are told by those who ignored guide books and followed their own path. Every ‘journey’ is uniquely shaped by the people involved, the place it starts from and importantly by its desired destinations.

What might ...


Church(es) & Faiths Group (s)

Camden Shares | Time Banking Initiative Time banking is a non-monetary way of working for your community. It’s a membership model where members offer their time to the community, e.g. by computer tuition or hair cutting. Members earn time-credits, valued equally, for every hour of their services that can be ‘cashed in’ when they are wanting help.

...I’d like to make a difference ...

Large Gathering 05 ... Announcement of Referendum outcome ... and the largest local improvement projects to date!

Streetlife | Local Social Media Streetlife is a platform for chat and networking, and a good source of information about local community areas, such as local news & events; service & business listings; planning applications & updates from your local council; properties for sale etc.

O6 More Improvements This way!

ject oject o r p pr O ur O ur



...Celebrate Referendum day & achievements so far... and how about a Neighbourhood Olympics or dance festival or, or, or...!

Improvements 01

... Cast your votes.

Make friends!

Improvements 02



- Define the Neighbourhood - Designate the Neighbourhood Forum/Parish Council - Local Authority has a duty to provide technical advice & support

10 TASKS from DCLG /Feb 2011

Improvements 03


< Backdrop >


Develop the Plan&Orders Check against Local Plan/DPDs Get Independent Examination Get Examiners Report Make Plan modifications

Improvements 04


Improvements 05

Our project

O ur

ect j o pr O ur

t O ur p jec ropjero ct O ur



Our project




- Adopted Dev. Plan ...and/or stronger local partnerships delivering neighbourhood improvements!

- Referendum

In light of shrinking public budgets, new sources for place-making will need to be found. One possibility lies in letting local networks flourish, driven by principles of self-organisation and good leadership. We know that these processes have a better chance of thriving when many different people get together to work on things they enjoy doing and learning about better ways of doing it. Chris Anderson called it ‘Crowd Accelerated Innovation’ with the web and videos enabling a totally new dynamic of innovation. This Rough Guide explores some principles and formats that might be useful in facilitating such a dynamic environment where change happens organically or indeed sometimes spontaneously.

Our Elm Oak story… One year on! 12 July 2012

On the other hand, before Neighbourhood Development Plans and Neighbourhood Development Orders are adopted as planning policy, they also have to achieve over 50% of votes in a referendum*.

On their way!

This is a tough challenge and emphasises the need to work with many people right from the start. Neighbourhood Development Plans may also be thought of as a package of Neighbourhood Development Orders, voted on individually in the referendum. We believe that there are at least 5 accelerators that can help grow local networks and tackle the referendum challenge.

I got involved in neighbourhood planning through my role as chairperson of the local business forum. Though Elm Oak is a great place, we felt it could be even better and so, when an old factory closed recently in the centre of Elm Oak, we got to thinking about what opportunities there might be. A Neighbourhood Development Plan seemed to give us the opportunity to build upon what we have in Elm Oak in terms of business and community spirit, while also giving us a legal basis to guide future developments. A long and at times challenging process had begun ... but, as the old adage goes, nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy!

To get us started and with a little help from the Council, we invited all those with an interest in our neighbourhood to help us pull the Neighbourhood Development Plan together. This was quite a long list but included residents (like me!), employers, employees and landowners, as well as external investors. Our ward councillors played an important role in pulling this group together and took an active role in liaising with the Council. Many of us felt that it was important that we make a special effort to find ways of including younger people and children in the process.

Accelerating your journey!

I should say that at the outset, we didn’t really try to work out what the exact boundaries of our neighbourhood should be. We realised early on that we could spend weeks talking about it and never reach an agreement! Instead, we did agree, that our neighbourhood had a clear heart, Elm Oak local centre. This is where all the shops, services, pubs, restaurants, public transport and so on are focused, so it seemed a logical place to start. We made sure that development opportunities were included and didn’t worry too much about the exact edges until much later. In the end, we settled on electoral ward boundaries mainly because it made data collection easy and it was really important in getting our councillors fully on board.

Getting on with it. Delivering one public improvement project locally for every planning meeting! Make a real difference right from the start.

Asking for help.

Learning from each other, great neighbourhoods and place-making. How about teaming up with a partner neighbourhood down the road or indeed on the other side of the world.

Many came and we got to know each other a bit better, talked about the area and how we could improve it. Local artists and teachers worked with our youngsters and drew fantastic visions of our neighbourhood on big blank canvases donated by a local business. The local bank manager, the chair of the Civic Society, a number of landowners, a local artist, the chair of allotment society and young people each gave short speeches about their personal visions. That stimulated a lot of engaged and passionate debate on the day. We closed the day by inviting people to plant new fruit bearing trees and an oak in our local park - we are in Elm Oak after all! We are determined that each meeting will result in at least one action - none of us have the time to be part of a talking shop!

Having enough time and resources to get people excited about planning and designing, while creating an environment where bright ideas and aspirations flourish.

Learning to ask for help locally. Getting the skills, talents, influencers and investors involved in making and delivering the plan from the beginning will be critical. It’s a different kind of planning process.


To get us started, Council planning officers provided us with a whole pack of useful information, including free mapping, copies of local planning policies that applied to our area, other local information and contacts for free help. Our ward councillors also arranged a meeting with the Council’s transport/traffic officers. Our Councillors and I, as the local business spokesperson, took on the task of organising the first couple of meetings. The first was a big street party where we asked people to bring food and share their ideas and dreams for Elm Oak.


At the first ‘Large Gathering’, we held a ballot to decide who should be part of the core Neighbourhood team. In the end, we got a real mix of people and interests, including landowners, local businesses, residents associations and youth groups; each individual (or group) agreed to take the lead on specific tasks or themes. Importantly, each representative was asked to declare their interests at the outset. All became ambassadors and helped to define the ‘working constitution’ and signed it. This was then sent to the Council, via our ward members, to seek their formal endorsement of the Elm Oak Neighbourhood Forum. We developed a working charter with a vision, objectives and action programme using an Open Space meeting. This approach was interesting because it was the people attending who made the agenda and then ran a number of workshops themselves. We also made Youtube videos about how the area could change. Around 240 people attended and using Open Space we got a lot work done together. We invited people to come along to organised visits to places and people we could learn from. From then on, each meeting was chaired by a different member of the team and we always remembered to finish taking part in small local improvement projects, which made a tangible difference from the start.

Access for all.

Working across the whole spectrum of the local community as a chief principle of the process. The process is afterall largely reliant on good old fashioned over-the-garden-fence and doorstep conversations as well as social media.


We created an ‘Elm Oak Planning & Improvement Fund’ and asked everybody who might benefit from an improved area to make donations, including landowners, external investors, homeowners and businesses. That wasn’t an easy task, but we realised that if we don’t ask we won’t get anywhere. We wrote letters to all local residents, employers, employees and landowners, used word of mouth, along with twitter and Facebook to try to get people involved. We are delighted to say that a lot of local talent joined us in the first months of our campaign. To give us focus, we developed and signed a ‘working charter’ stating our agreed vision, our objectives for sites and an action programme, based on what people had told us.

On the big day, we incorporated those design and delivery rules into a creative design and built environment game tailored to Elm Oak. Groups of mixed interests were tasked to build real models utilising 3D props, a base map, pictures and stories to illustrate the look and feel of our improved neighbourhood. In all, we had more than 20 different groups building fabulous models of what our neighbourhood might look like in the future. There was an amazing buzz and the models proved to be a great source of inspiration on the day and in the coming weeks and months. To ensure that we reached as many people as possible, we used Facebook to encourage digital submissions, using free software and mapping developed by friends of friends that, as it happens, don’t even live in the area. This exciting and most inspiring day ended with an exhibition, discussions about the pros and cons of the various designs, a selection of 5 different models and stories, an awards ceremony and a pretty good sense of how we want our area to change and what benefits that might bring for all of us in Elm Oak. Crucially, we also had a sense of who the key individuals are that could help make it happen. After a couple of long nights, hands-on sessions and spreading the word, we launched the draft plan with 5 packaged development orders and design codes at our third Large Gathering. We had over 280 people attending the launch. Prior to the event, we decided to give a presentation to the local planning officers so that we could be sure the draft plan met the necessary tests enabling the Council to submit it for independent examination. It is a very visual and engaging document of only 18 pages with most background information shared on our website. The examination itself was not as daunting as we initially thought it would be. Because we had worked alongside our councillors and officers from day one, they were very supportive of our approach and helped us where we needed assistance with the preparation of necessary evidence. The report of the examiner was supportive, although she did suggest that the referendum should be open to a wider area than that covered by our plan – due to the implications of our proposals for adjacent areas. We then set an improvement challenge for everybody to encourage at least five local people to visit the exhibition, in person or online, in the four weeks prior to the referendum. People took the challenge with gusto and over 500 people came to our 4th Large Gathering, which we called ‘Referendum Day’. It was a great day of celebrations, everybody chipped in, had fun and (of course!) casted their vote. In all, 4000 people voted in the referendum (3500 online votes). That is about 45% of all those eligible to vote. Our overall Neighbourhood Development Plan got 1800 ‘yes’ votes, meaning it didn’t get the majority of votes. However, as we asked people to not just vote on the overall plan but also on 5 site specific Development Orders and a number of smaller improvement projects, we have secured 4 of 5 Neighbourhood Development Orders and all of the smaller projects. They got between 56 and 88% of the votes. And the moral of our story: We might not have an adopted Elm Oak Neighbourhood Development Plan today, but we have adopted Neighbourhood Development Orders for 4 of the sites we’d like to see changed. The final 3D model provides us with a clear picture of what is to come. The landowners have already started building new homes, refurbishing and extending facilities in line with the Development Orders and Design Codes. Stronger local partnerships have resulted in better investment decisions by the Local Authority and private businesses, service providers and households in the area. We cleared up 2 ha of underused public land and transformed it into a flourishing allotment area. The allotment already generates revenue that is re-invested locally through our improvement fund. Overall, the improvement projects that we implemented while we were making the plan and the trusted relationships we’ve developed throughout the process are now an invaluable resource for more good work. Wishing you luck for your journey. We have only just started! Ann, 12 July 20

After this intensive start, we began to prepare for our second ‘Large Gathering’. With the help of advisers, we developed key design and delivery rules that should help to support our vision. With hindsight, we should have made more effort to get many more landowners and local businesses along to this workshop. Without them it will be difficult if not impossible to realise our aspirations. That’s a lesson learnt for next time.

D R E A M . . . D E S I G N . . . D E L I V E R


We thought we’d start this by developing some ‘working definitions’ of the main new terms. Please feel free to disagree and share your take on this emerging new world. Localism Bill: The Bill currently passing through Parliament which sets out the Government’s proposals for Neighbourhood Planning. Neighbourhood: The area and composition of neighbourhoods in the context of neighbourhood planning will therefore vary considerably. In rural areas they are likely to be geographically autonomous and encompass entire village settlements. In larger urban areas it will often be more difficult to define their edges – although their geographical heart will often be self evident, for example local and district shopping and service centres. In many urban areas, there could be some overlap between neighbourhoods. Neighbourhood Forum: A neighbourhood forum is the body that takes responsibility for producing a Neighbourhood Development Plan. There is a requirement to prepare a written Constitution in the Localism Bill. A forum must be designated by the relevant local planning authority. Where Parish Council’s exist they will automatically have this role. Constitution: A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organisation is governed. (Oxford English Dictionary) Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP): A Neighbourhood Development Plan is brought forward by members of a designated neighbourhood forum, with the support of the local planning authority and in collaboration with local communities. The plan needs to be in compliance with the Local Development Framework and the national planning policy framework. An adopted Neighbourhood Plan will form part of the local planning policies and be used to assess planning applications and changes to local streets and spaces. Neighbourhood Development Plans (NDP) are likely to go significantly further than existing examples of community based plans such as village design statements and parish plans in terms of their content. A Neighbourhood Development Plan is likely to consit of (at least): * A vision * A set of social, economic and environmental objectives * An action programme * Preferred development sites * Design guidance/design codes for buildings and spaces * Local infrastructure and service needs * Advice on the management of conservation areas and historic environments * Monitoring programme Neighbourhood Development Order (NDO): An NDO will specify the look and feel of development a community would be willing to accept for a designated site. Where an NDO is in place, developments would not require planning permission if they are in complicance with the details of the NDO. The Community Right to Build is a special type of NDO for community led development schemes promoted by an incorporated community organisation. Like an NDO it would also be subject to approval through a referendum. Local Plan: Each local authority is required to prepare a local plan. Under the current planning system, a Local Development Framework comprises Core Strategies, Site Allocations Documents, Area Action Plans and Supplementary Planning Documents. An adopted Neighbourhood Development Plan must be in conformity with the policies and strategic provisions of the Council’s Local Plan. Referendum: For a Neighbourhood Development Plan or Neighbourhood Development Order to be adopted it will need to be passed by a majority in a local referendum (currently based on residents on the electoral register). Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL): A charge applied to development in order to help fund infrastructure required to meet the demands arising from development in the wider area. The Localism Bill proposes that a meaningful proportion of CIL raised must be spent in the neighbourhood from which it has been raised. Front Runners/ Vangards: The 17 local authorities that have been awarded £20,000 by central Government to take forward a neighbourhood plan in advance of the enactment of the Localism Bill. A presumption in favour of sustainable development (from Department for Communities and Local Government, March 2011): This is a powerful new principle underpinning the planning system that will help to ensure that the default answer to development and growth is “yes” rather than “no”, except where this would clearly compromise the key sustainable development principles in national planning policy, including protecting the Green Belt and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The presumption will give landowners, communities and investors greater certainty about the types of applications that are likely to be approved, and will help to speed up the planning process and encourage growth. A draft wording of the presumption will be published for consultation in the summer 2011.


Please share your wisdom on new initiatives such as or


It‘s so important to keep the momentum in the community going beyond the face-to-face meetings, gatherings and activities. Social media provides great tools for awareness raising within the locality and reaching out beyond. It offers platforms for dissemination and sharing of ideas, documents, photos, thoughts, stories or videos within seconds. This can ignite conversations and debate, generate fresh ideas and encourage people to meet face-to-face locally. Further than that, social media can serve to engage and liaise with other communities facing similar challenges and opportunities. Social media platforms are easy to set up and free of charge. Once purpose and responsibilities have been established, they are light on maintenance. There are a couple of social media tools available, with Facebook and Twitter being perhaps the best known examples. However, social media can be far more: other tools like online community newspapers or community blogs might be equally useful for local communities, be it in a rural or urban environment.


A guide for councillors, by the Planning Advisory Service: Your Place Your Plan, by the Town and Country Planning Association: DIY Sustainablily Appraisals, by Levett-Therival(Draft): Free advice (until March 2012) for Neighbourhood Planning is available from: * Princes Foundation: * Locality; * Campaign for the Protection of Rurual England/National Association of Local Councils * Planning Aid


We believe good place-making shouldn’t be rocket science. Successful place-making needs to be measured by what it delivers. There is great technical guidance around. Visting places and meeting its people is possibly the most powerful tool when in comes to learning about good place making. We’d like to leave you with a quote from Economics Foundation’s Manifesto for Co-Production which very much describes the spirit of this Rough Guide and we think many solutions for tricky issues around Neighbourhood Planning: “The fact that social needs continue to rise is not due to a failure to consult or conduct opinion research. It is due to a failure to ask people for their help and to use the skills they have. This is the forgotten engine of change that makes the difference between systems working and failing.” On that note ... Start your engines!

C H E C K . . . C O N S I D E R

What’s next? This first issue has been put together by: Angela Koch, Founder of ImaginePlaces in collaboration with John Pounder, Planning Director at Colin Buchanan & Thomas Ermacora, Founder of Clear Village. With great support from Jon Herbert (CB), Karsten Stampa (CV), Alice Holmberg (CV) and with special contribution from Peter O’Brien of Place Futures. For specific enquiries please get in touch with Angela. We are endeavouring to develop this evolving Rough Guide over the summer, reflecting the changes in the Bill, more best practice and indeed the stories you share with us. Please join the debate on the ‘Neighbourhood Planning’ LinkedIn Group. We‘re keen to hear from you. Angela Koch for ImaginePlaces Thomas Ugo Ermacora for Clear Village John Pounder for Colin Buchanan This media is not optimised for printing. We will not accept liability for any legal or other action arising from use of this guidance.

c ImaginePlaces Ltd. 2011

Open Space... from 25 to over 2000 people. Open Space processes have taken place in facilitated by only one experienced person, Open Space processes create

listing and moving things around. 10 to 200 participants can work

hundreds of people literally building models of a new or

Large boards, large sticky cards, thick pens and other bespoke

environments for change, deeply rooted in self-organisation as a

facilitation material from Neuland is used to enable open

means to make "more of what works".

agenda. It’s the participants that create the ‘right’ agenda. The

stimulating and inspiring power of playing&making. Imagine

linked to a simple spreadsheet showing number of homes, shops, schools etc.

dialogue, foster balanced debate and effective group working. The and walls. The minutes of a MetaPlanningRoom Session are simply

‘building material’ and off they go. The game is on.

the photos of the large boards and walls populated and validated by participants through-out the session.

identified 4 principles & 1 law to support this self-organising and

MetaplanningRoom sessions provide a big canvas for an open,

(possibly) voted on. This interactive process can/should be

people join groups for as long as they feel they can add to the

paves the way for well documented, consensual decisions owned by

idea/issue/solution. Harrison Owen discovered this force and

highly effective way to create momentum for change. And in this spirit,

interactive and collective brainstorm. Followed through properly, it

conversation after that they move on. That the "Law of Two Feet". It

many and generated by a diverse group of stakeholders.

turns the gathering into a dynamic network of cross-pollination between many informal workshops.

Trained facilitators are at hand to steer the group or groups

through the agreed process. One key aspect of Metaplanning is the

The 4 ‘principle’ or ‘positive attitudes’ of Open Space are: 1.


3. 4.

use of large cards by all participants. Every idea and thought has the same ‘weight’, no matter who wrote or drew it. This is critical

Whoever comes is the right people...

in groups with different kinds of knowledge and social standing

Whenever it starts is the right time ... Now is great! Whatever happens is the only thing that could have ...Excellent!

When it's over, it's over... All done. Well done. Let’s move on!

to facilitate a balanced and often surprising new depth of

Play, explore

and improvise!

dialogue. Through the course of a session (1hr to a series of

days), all happening in one room, a landscape of ideas, issues,

opportunities, options, actions and decisions evolves and is visible to all.

incredible ability to share stories that matter to them. Paper table cloths are employed to develop and record ideas, thoughts and action points. After about 20-30 minutes, everybody but one

person moves to a new table as ambassadors and the conversation continues. The person staying builds links between the different

stories. The last round of conversations brings the original group

centre of the room facing each other (this would be the fishbowl)

members back together. The task is to synthesise discoveries and

and 2-8 (depending on the size of your audience) rows of chairs

to share them in a whole group conversation. A plan of collective

are set up to radiate out of the fishbowl.

actions emerges.

People who volunteer or are selected to sit in the fishbowl have a

The mind-set that has made World Cafe such a success for large

dialogue or provide points of view on a selected topic. One of the

and diverse groups is to:

fishbowl chairs is always left empty – this way if anyone from the audience wants to join the discussion they seat themselves at the

It is important to prepare and equip an event properly with 3D props, ideally working to scale. However, never underestimate

empty chair (and someone else gets up to free up a chair). The

- Focus on what matters

changing fishbowl participants drive the dialogue.

- Speak your mind & heart

- Contribute your thoughts

idea is the moderation is kept to a minimum and the constantly

the ability of people to imagine a place in the future even if

the vision is expressed by a model built with day-to-day items


setting of a cafe-house style set-up. This method taps into people’s

globe ( It finds its power in an informal

is much like it sounds…a circle of 5-8 chairs are placed in the

teams in case tricky questions come up.

Play, explore and

it as follows:

For those of you who have not seen fishbowl dialogue in action, it

supported by professionals that freely offer their advice to all

in a well stocked kitchen!

... was developed by Juanita Brown and is shared all over the

set ups, I found this more collaborative set up quite refreshing.

is put together, explained by design teams, critiqued and

such as sugar cubes, peas and other delicious things you’ll find

... is a dynamic alternative for a panel discussion for audiences

“Having sat through far too many sessions that use conventional

provides every team with an aerial map, design principles and At the end of the design session a market place for all models

organising and creative force here is the passion of individuals for an

World Cafe gathering...

large and small. A participant at the Event Camp 2010 summarised

improved street, neighbourhood or city using lego type tools

Every game has rules. The facilitator explains the rules and

records of every part of the process are recorded on the boards

This fabulous format is most distinctive for its initial lack of an

and improvise!

... stands for a whole set of techniques that tap into the


more than 160 countries around the world. Well prepared and

Fishbowl Session...

... has been around since the 1970s. It works well for diverse

groups because it makes use of all three learning types: Seeing/

... puts participants in the driving seat. Open Space works for groups

Play, explore

Make the Future...


Play, explore and improvise!

I found this technique to be a great way to tap into the

intelligence of the audience and build content for a subject

around the needs, challenges and experiences of that crowd (at least the ones who participated in the fishbowl).”

- Listen to understand

Play, explore and improvise!

- Link and connect ideas

- Listen together for insights and deeper questions - Play, doodle, draw - use the table cloth - Have fun!


Evolving Rough Guide to Neighbourhood Planning & Vitality  

Issue 2: A0 format

Evolving Rough Guide to Neighbourhood Planning & Vitality  

Issue 2: A0 format