"Community Planning in Central Bedfordshire" entered by Central Bedfordshire Council in association with LDA Design
Planners and professionals from Central Bedfordshire Council (CBC) and LDA Design devised a methodology for engagement in Local Plan production. In the first phase, leading up to the production of 15 Community Plans across CBC, six planning themes were identified to ensure that the information gathered would be relevant to land use planning.
Events were held in each community area, with wide publicity including social media to encourage Town and Parish Councils, local residents and interest groups to attend. Information was gathered of the profile of those attending and subsequent stages of community planning can be targeted at underrepresented groups as needed.
The Local Plan has sustainability at its heart and the six themes were devised to enable the capture of information on economic, social and environmental aspects of the communities involved.
The events and community plans have been well received. Those involved so far have been given the opportunity to feedback on the draft documents via an online questionnaire.
The vision of community planning is to start a proactive ongoing dialogue with the local communities that goes beyond traditional methods of consultation which is accessible to many people who may not otherwise engage in planning issues.