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Local Development Framework

Chelmsford Borough Council

An integrated Town Plan consultation SPD at South Woodham Ferrers

  RCCE was contracted by the Chelmsford Borough Council to assist with community engagement in the preparation for the SPD for the town of South Woodham Ferrers.

Chelmsford Borough Council (CBC) included the SPD in their Local Development Scheme. At the same time the town council had identified the need to prepare a town plan to tackle a variety of issues that had been raised locally. RCCE Field Officer works together with the Town Council Development and Regeneration Steering Group and CBC planners.

The process must meet the requirements of the Statement of Community Involvement and Sustainability Appraisal but also retain local ownership of the final town plan and empower those involved to take actions forward. To integrate the consultation without compromising the 'community led' principle is a challenge for all involved. The intention is for the integrated process to provide information for both final documents; the SPD which will contain spatial planning policies and the Town Plan which will focus on action.

Colchester Borough Council

Colchester Borough Council contracted RCCE to involve its rural parish councils in the 'front loading' (pre-production) stage of the Core Strategy.

RCCE designed and facilitated two participatory workshops in July and August 2005. RCCE was also contracted to undertake a Rural Services Survey to form part of the Local Development Framework evidence base.

The aims were:
  • To gather information about services and facilities in rural areas that will inform the development of policies within the LDF;
  • To involve rural parishes in determining strategic priorities for the borough for the next 20 years;
  • To disseminate information to rural parishes about the LDF and sustainability issues;
  • To contribute towards the Planning Act requirements for 'front loading' the Core Strategy.

Uttlesford District Council

  Uttlesford District Council contracted RCCE to involve key stakeholders and the community of Uttlesford District in an exploration of Issues and Options regarding 'front-loading' of the Core Strategy.

Workshops were run during April 2006 in three locations; Saffron Walden, Great Dunmow and Stansted Mountfitchet, in line with the area panel system. Two were on a weekday evening and one on a Saturday morning.

Invitations were sent to Town and Parish councils, Local groups & Amenity bodies, Business community, LSP member organisations, Developers/Agents and Youth organisations, together with a general public invitation to attend.

The workshops used a variety of participatory and non-confrontational methods to gather the following information:

  • Perceptions of the Strengths, Weaknesses of the district at present and the potential Opportunities and Threats for the future
  • A vision for the future of the district and the priority objectives
  • Suggested policies and actions to meet these objectives

The aims of the workshops were:
  • To improve stakeholder understanding of the Core Strategy,
  • To provide details of the constraints imposed by the planning system (national and regional policies with which the Core Strategy must comply),
  • To comply with the Uttlesford Statement of Community Involvement regarding identification of issues and options,
  • To link the Core Strategy with Corporate / Community Strategy objectives and to prioritise issues and options,
  • To provide information for the design of a district wide questionnaire (which will also form the basis for UDC participatory exhibitions in May/June 2006)

Braintree District Council

  Braintree District Council has, since 1999, jointly funded an RCCE field officer post. The field officer spends one day per week at Braintree District Council offices and has assisted with the design and facilitation of various consultations as follows:

Community Strategy

Braintree District Council (BDC) set themselves some very clear objectives for their Community Strategy. The aim was to gather the views and opinions of at least 5,000 people, to reach those who do not normally participate in planning initiatives, and for the process to be as community led as possible.

A quick, portable, fun method was needed which would encourage local people to be community leaders. BDC and RCCE worked together to devise a set of DIY packs for different situations and arranged a series of "training sessions" in spring 2002 for community volunteers. The process was a huge success with these "community champions" taking the packs to fetes and events across the district throughout the summer of 2002.

Statement of Community Involvement

RCCE designed and facilitated three participatory workshops for parish councils as the 'front loading' stage of the Statement of Community Involvement. The aims of the workshops were:

  • Improve understanding of the community and spatial planning systems at all levels of government,
  • Provide information about the Local Development Framework and how it differs from the previous planning system,
  • Clarify the potential role of Parish Councils in the new system,
  • Enable parish councils to differentiate local and strategic issues,
  • Establish preferred methods for informing, commenting on proposals and involving/engaging,
  • Explore methods of consultation that parish councils could deliver,
  • Explain the front loading requirement and enthuse those present to become engaged in the process.

A 'Guide to Statutory Planning Processes' was also produced to inform delegates about the new planning system and how the Community Strategy and Local Development Framework fit together.

Evidence base

The RCCE community engagement officer produced Rural Services Surveys in 2005, 2008 and 2011 to provide a clear picture of the level of services in the 62 rural parishes in the district. There was a 100% response rate to both surveys.  The most recent Rural Services Survey is part of the evidence base for the Core Strategy adopted in 2011

Core Strategy
RCCE facilitated a series of participatory workshops and events to explore the issues important to local residents and stakeholders. The programme of consultation was as follows:

Event Date Target Group
Members Seminar 01/06/06 District Councillors
Witham Area Seminar 08/06/06 Parish Councillors and Community /
Voluntary / Special Interest Groups
Halstead Area Seminar 21/06/06  
Braintree Area Seminar 28/06/06  
Alec Hunter School 26/06/06 Special Interest Group (young people)
Tabor Science College 17/07/06  
Transport Partnership Board 29/06/06 Consultees (Partner Organisations)
Cultural Partnership Board 20/07/06  
Economic Development Partnership Board 10/07/06 Consultees (Partner Organisations),
Businesses/ Developers and Agents
Agents & Developers Seminar 12/09/06  
Braintree Foyer workshop 11/09/06 Special Interest (disadvantaged)
Local Strategic Partnership Executive meeting 08/11/06 Consultees (Partner Organisations)

The information gathered was included in a 'front loading' report which was used in the preparation of the Core Strategy Issues and Options document which was published in April 2007. The RCCE field officer designed and facilitated a workshop in June 2007 to enable the Local Strategic Partnership Assembly to create a new vision for the district and set objectives for the future

Maldon District Facing the Future

RCCE worked in partnership with Maldon District Council to help residents and stakeholders face their future at an facilitated event.
The joint Maldon Local Strategic Partnership and Local Development Framework consultation event was attended by over 60 delegates. RCCE assisted in the facilitation of workshops where attendees discussed options for flooding, housing, rural services, and employment land. The results will be fed into the Local Development Framework and Sustainable Community Strategy processes for the district.