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New Volunteers GOLNAZ MOTLAGHZADEH
Loc a lism Bill
I have just completed a masters in Planning at the University of Manchester and am looking for job in this field, but this is proving difficult. Urban design is my favourite field of work and I’ve computer skills (Auto CAD, Sketch up, Arc GIS) which are used more for drawing and designing the streetscapes and preparing maps and etc My intention in joining PAL is to gain more experience and learn practical issues that I haven’t covered in my masters degree. I’m particularly interested in development plans, infrastructure planning and neighbourhood development. It is a great opportunity for me to be involved with planning and I am hoping to attend training events and maybe gain experience within the PAL office.
To Infinity & Be yond
Sum m er University
Following completion of my Planning Masters last summer, I have been working for NLP as a planner. My work has been varied, including infrastructure, heritage, housing, retail, EIA, appeals and more. Prior to that I spent two years in planning policy at Salford City Council where I contributed to the production of the Core Strategy including consultation with community and business stakeholders and undertook policy response and urban design critiques for development control team. I am keen to broaden my experience of planning and community involvement. I’m currently a Licentiate member of the RTPI and I hope to obtain full membership in 2012.
C O N TEN TS New Volunteers
My name is Rhoda Hersson-Ringskog , a senior town planner with over six years experience (with Indigo Planning, Scott Wilson and Arup) in a range of planning and development projects, including gaining consents for complex major development projects for both private and public clients; planning appeal preparation and consultations with a wide range of stakeholders and the general public. I have been on a career break since September 2009 to have children and have now decided to volunteer to gain more experience; keep abreast with the changes within the profession and give something back to the local community.
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Loc a lism Bill Mark Lee from DCLG presented the latest updates on the Localism Bill at PAL offices in East London. The Bill had its second reading on 7th June and the Lords Committee is provisionally scheduled to start on 20th June 2011. After starting by outlining the overall implications; empowerment of individuals and communities, re-appraisal of the relationship between citizens and the state and freedom from top down controls, Mr Lee went on to state that the Governmentâ€™s intention was to rebalance the system in favour of sustainable development and delivery of a more effective system. In a nutshell the bill was described as: â€œA plan led system that empowers local people to shape their surroundings whilst encouraging the idea that development can positively benefit a community. A system that is positive pro-active, less adversarial and free from bureaucratic barriersâ€? The current system was described as centralised bureaucratic and complex, costly, an alienating and disempowering force for communities and had failed to deliver, not least with regard to rates of house building. The reforms however, through and alongside the Localism Bill give incentives to promote sustainable development. Mr Lee explained that a number of non-planning measures are tackled in the bill, such as predetermination, referendums, assets of community value and general power of competence. The key planning elements were the abolition of regional strategies, duty to co-operate, local plan reform, CIL reform, neighbourhood planning, enforcement, major infrastructure (IPC) and local finance. With regard to the duty to cooperate, the Commons Committee view was that this requirement should be strengthened. DCLG working closely with the RTPI had ensured the inclusions of County Councils, Marine plans, cross-boundary strategic issues, requirement to consider consultation and or publication or joint approaches and agreements between authorities including joint local plans and includes LEPs including Business Improvement Districts BIDs to be prescribed as bodies to have regard to when preparing local plans. With regard to Neighbourhood Plans, recent amendments include criteria for the designation of neighbourhood forums which will include involvement of ward councillors and businesses, to increase the minimum number of residents needed to for such a forum from 3 to 21 and specify that membership should be open to those living/wanting to live, work or operating a business premises in neighbourhood areas.
Further amendments include allowing Central and Local Government officers to act as independent examiners and introduce a charging power to allow for costs of acting a examiner to be recovered. To permit plans to cross LA boundaries and prevent the community right to build and neighbourhood development orders leading to substantial harm or the total loss of significance to the special architectural or historic interest of listed buildings. The presentation then turned to financial considerations: a new clause 15 which does not seek to change the basis for making planning decisions and that where material to a planning application, local finance considerations (NHB, CIL) can be taken into account. However they do emphasize that this does not mean that permissions can be bought. Several questions and comments were raised during and after the presentation the most notable being: If the Localism Bill was rebalanced in favour of sustainable development, would this contradict it being a plan led system taking us back to ‘pre s54A days’? Mr Lee pointed out that with Regional Plans going then the National Planning Framework would have significant importance notwithstanding this, it would be a more localist system. He pointed out that Black Country authorities was developing a joint core strategy as an example of how other phenomena are taking shape in response to this. He did concede that London would retain its regional tier through GLA and London Plan. On the subject of who could be part of a forum, it was asked whether religious worshippers who gathered in a specific area could be part of the forum? Though this didn’t have a direct answer, Mr Lee clarified that referendums would need the approval of 50% of those that voted, but generally agreed that more work was needed to clarify the democratic issues around the forum. On the subject of examination of plans, it was pointed out that local authorities had little resources to undertake neighbourhood plans. Mr Lee responded that it was up to the members with regard to whether their plans would require full examination and adoption and how much was available for this. Another point raised was of timescale for adoption. Mr Lee indicated that NP’s wouldn’t need to be as comprehensive as LDF’s as the neighbourhood plans were seen as being complimentary to the framework. To this end, he did urge all local authorities to ensure that there LDF’s were upto date and involving local communities in their development. With regard to personal finance, it was confirmed m that at present the CIL funding would relate only to infrastructure. Suggestions such as a pot of money which could be used to fund advice and support neighbourhood groups were seen as potentially problematic as there would be no clear audit of how this funding was related to the development unlike say a s106 agreement. Mr Lee agree that a debate still needed to be had on this matter as well as the role of business especially BIDs. A very interesting afternoon and many thanks to Mark Lee for an interesting and efficient presentation. However it is clear from the questions raised, that much more work and clarification is required on the contents of such an important and wide-ranging bill.
http://www.planningaidforlondon.org.uk/?idno=679 For Mark Lee’s presentation goto PAL’s publication page on the website.
Myles Joyce – Team Leader, Planning Enforcement (Hackney LA)
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To Infinity a nd Beyond … After two years as a Planning Advisor at Planning Aid for London (PAL) I have taken up a new role to work for Planning Aid England (PAE) who are re-launching. By the time you read this hopefully the re-launch will have been a success. Part of this article is for me to say thank you to all of the volunteers who have made it so enjoyable and fulfilling to work for PAL over the last couple of years. The other part of the article is to let you all know about Planning Aid England’s launch and ask for you all to publicise this and let any planners you know based outside of the M25 about volunteering and the new donations scheme. Now I appreciate we Londoners often don’t believe that there is anything outside of the M25 but trust me there is. I’ve seen it… Apparently no passport or visa required. It is essential that Planning Aid as a whole, is a success in order to retain funding for the coming years. As you are aware our success is mostly achieved through you the volunteers. As such I would encourage you all to wax lyrical about volunteering to friends/family/acquaintances/colleagues and clients. Details of volunteering can be found at http://www.planningaidforlondon.org.uk/?idno=696 http://www.rtpi.org.uk/planningaid/volunteer/how_to_apply/ There will also be an advice line at PAE as we have here at PAL, where ten minutes of free independent planning advice will be offered to the general public based outside of London. This will also be the number to call for those individuals and groups who qualify for volunteer assistance to call. Tel: 0330 123 9244 firstname.lastname@example.org I will be based in London at the RTPI so won’t be developing a regional accent anytime soon and will continue to volunteer for PAL so will hopefully see you all at the next AGM. John Romanski- Planning Aid for London ( soon to be Planning Aid for England)
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PLA N N I N G A I D FO R LO N D O N C O U RSE FO R SU M M ER U N I V ERSI TY I S A W A RD ED A C C RED I TA TI O N BY A Q A
First Ac c red ited We have been delivering courses introducing young people to planning, held during the summer holidays, since - in Summer University programmes in Southwark, Camden, 2005. Over this time weCourse have run these courses Islington and Tower Hamlets. Our courses have used a range of themes to bring alive the drama and complexiof urban design, planning and architecture, encouraging young AQA ties people to get involved in place shaping, and to consider careers in planning and other built environment professions. Themes have included sport, leisure and the London Olympics, ideas for regenerating local neighbourhoods, designs for green roofs, designing the new frontage and area of public realm outside Kingâ€™s Cross Station, and inclusive design and play. Most of our courses have run from between 3 to 5 days, and have been collaborations with local planning authorities, architects practices, specialist organisations and other voluntary organisations working with young people. To reward all the hard work that has gone into developing these courses over the years, the course programme that we have delivered in collaboration with London Borough of Camden Planning Department for five years has now been awarded an accreditation by AQA. The AQA (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance) is the largest A-level and GCSE awarding body in the UK, awarding 45% of full course GCSEs and 44% of A-levels nationally. The accreditation will enable us to raise our profile as a trusted course provider in educational training. OUR FIRST ACCREDITED COURSE TAKES PLACE THIS AUGUST IN CAMDEN Our first fully accredited course will be run this August as part of the Camden Summer University, from Monday 22nd to Friday 26th August around the themes of neighbourhood planning, inclusive design and crime and safety, and will be centred on the listed Ossulston housing estate in Somerstown, between Euston and Kingâ€™s Cross station. To date we have secured the involvement of an experienced senior planner at Camden, Jane Debono, who is also a criminologist, and she will be taking students on a site visit around the housing estate to look at a range of community safety issues. We need volunteers to help deliver the course throughout the week, so if you are able to give us a morning, afternoon or whole day during that week, please do get in touch. Volunteers have a great time and get the chance to work with some inspiring young people, some of whom may even become the planners of tomorrow! Contact Adam Brown, Education Outreach Officer on email@example.com or call 020 7247 4900 for further details. Adam Brown, 20 June 2011
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Volunteers need ed …… PAL have a whole plethora of work that needs to be undertaken this summer, from attending events to setting up volunteer network training and social events. In particular we’re interested in advancing our technological image via social networking sites, and as such would really appreciate any volunteers who would be willing to blog or twitter their experiences on facebook etc. Also very desperately needed, are volunteers that would help us fundraise, write bids or approach companies seeking corporate sponsorship. As you are all aware, funding at PAL is very precarious at the moment and PAL staff need lots of support to ensure that they continue to provide a full service . Finally we need your knowledge of the world of business and marketing. PAL’s aim is to become more financially secure by increasing the money generated by our consultancy through training programmes and undertaking consultation events on behalf of developers and local authorities. PAL are therefore looking to define their products and put together a marketing strategy that will appeal to a wider audience than our current core work. Any knowledge, ideas, contacts would be gratefully received. So whether you’ve an hour, a day or a whole week to spare us get in touch. Email : firstname.lastname@example.org