In a new report out today the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has identified Green Growth Boards (GGBs) as a vital approach to be used to level up and create better communities.
GGBs aim to promote cross-boundary working between local authorities and other relevant organisations to deliver better access to public transport and jobs, more affordable housing and access to green space.
The RTPI initially proposed the roll-out of GGBs in its response to the ‘Planning for the Future’ white paper and today’s report builds on the concept by analysing existing examples of cross-boundary strategic planning in places such as Liverpool, Leicester and Oxford. Interviews were also conducted with members who are working on the projects in these areas.
Richard Blyth, Head of Policy at the RTPI, said: “Communities up and down the country have long been concerned about ensuring that transport and social infrastructure is provided alongside - or preferably before - housing development.
“Added to this, we now know following Covid-19 that aspects like the quality of high streets, parks and open space on the urban fringe are key elements of how people feel about places.
“Our proposal for Green Growth Boards serves to ensure that all the key strategies for a place are brought into a single democratic and professional oversight.
“These structures can give local people a greater say over how their community is developed, which can in turn help the government level up the country.”
The RTPI found that GGBs can be established and promote an interlinked and cooperative approach to planning to tackle infrastructure, housing shortages and climate change.
The research identified three key themes which contribute to a successful GGB:
- Communicate - Stakeholders should be brought together to communicate their challenges, opportunities and resulting strategies in order to establish an interconnected understanding of a region. For instance, as part of the Leicester Strategic Growth Plan ten organisations came together to agree on a set of four core issues: delivering new housing, supporting the economy, identifying essential infrastructure and protecting the environment and built heritage.
- Collaborate - Stakeholders should identify and capitalise upon crossovers in their projects, existing strategies and visions and drive cooperation in these areas. The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority agreed on a statutory Spatial Development Strategy (SDS) which set out a strategic planning framework which guides Local Plans and Neighbourhood Plans across six authorities.
- Innovate - The GGBs should represent their unique region and have the capacity to adapt and evolve as necessary to meet their challenges and opportunities. The Oxfordshire Joint Statutory Spatial Plan, which combines six authorities, will ensure that the needs of the county are aligned and that new housing and infrastructure is joined up as the Oxford-Cambridge Arc develops.