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RTPI backs new report to help faith groups engage with planning

19 October 2015

FaithThe Institute has backed a new report from the Faith and Place network containing 15 key recommendations (pdf) for faith groups, planners, developers and local authorities.

The document addresses five policy areas: Understanding one another, Community, Equality & Diversity, Sharing good practice and the Planning Framework.

Among the recommendations are:

  • Faith groups should take a more active involvement in the development of council Local Plans to ensure their views are included in the consultation process.
  • Councils should review data on planning applications to ascertain whether refusals are above average from faith groups and take appropriate action if required.
  • Councils should prioritise protecting space for social infrastructure, including places of worship.
  • Greater use of ‘section 106’ funding identified in the Town and Country Planning Act from developers for creation of buildings suitable for use as places of worship.

KPpanelThe report was launched at the House of Commons last week by Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, the Labour Party's faith envoy. 

The RTPI was part of the working group that produced the report. Kathie Pollard, who spoke at the launch of the document (pictured,on the panel) said: "We are very pleased to have been a part of the creation of this paper as it is an incredibly important and timely piece of work which planners and faith communities should engage with. It helps planners and decision-makers to make the most well-informed choices to create great places for communities to live, work and play in- including places of worship. We believe that it is a good guide for conversations between faith groups and local authorities on how to use space and to engage in the planning system."

Extracts from the report

Equality and Diversity

  • Local planning authorities to examine planning application data to assess whether rates of planning refusal are higher for some faith groups and to address any potential inequalities if there are discrepancies.

The Planning Framework

  • Local planning authorities to protect space for social infrastructure, including places of worship.
  • Section 106 agreements and the community infrastructure levy are legitimate means for supporting places of worship provision.
  • Proactive approach to social infrastructure provision in new developments.

Planning policies and decisions should plan positively for the provision and use of shared space, community facilities … and other local services to enhance the sustainability of communities and residential environments.

The Faith and Place network

The network exists to address the issues at the interface of faith, place and planning, especially for minority faith groups in the UK. The network brings together, for the first time, many groups with a strong interest in these issues, namely faith group representatives, academics from multiple disciplines, planners, policy makers, local and national government representatives and civil society organisations.

The project is led by Dr Andrew Rogers (University of Roehampton) and Dr Richard Gale (Cardiff University).

Read more about the Faith and Place Network