A project in Yorkshire: assisting a residents' group to understand the planning process
Planning Aid England was approached by Leeds City Council and asked to provide assistance to a residents' group in Lofthouse (a village in West Yorkshire) who may be affected by development proposals in the emerging Local Plan. Two professionally qualified volunteers attended a meeting with the group and provided training and advice on:
- The Local Plan process and the policy context and position in Leeds.
- How the group can make representations on the Site Allocations Plan and in particular the need to relate comments to the tests of soundness (the criteria against which the Plan will be assessed).
They also answered specific queries and questions from the group, which ranged from Green Belt policy to agricultural land classification.
Approximately 15 people attended the meeting and attendees were very grateful for the assistance provided. Eric Colley (left), one of the leaders of the residents' group, reported that the meeting was very productive as the "advice and help was first class, nothing being too much trouble for them".
The volunteers were commended on their knowledge and understanding of the planning system and they were able to confirm that the group is on the right track and to point members in the right direction to try to achieve their goals.
The volunteers found it to be particularly rewarding as they could see the group "get into" planning.
The volunteers enjoyed assisting the group and found it to be a particularly rewarding experience as they could see the group "get into" planning. It also provided useful CPD and enabled the volunteers to engage and understand "other aspects of planning than those on the Development Control side/day to day job activities".
These sessions could not be delivered without the support of volunteers and they provide an excellent opportunity for people to develop their presentation and engagement skills. We are always looking for more volunteers so if this sparks your interest please see How to apply.
© The photo of Lofthouse, top right, is copyright Betty Longbottom and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence