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Supporting community groups and local authorities: Bristol

PAE staff and volunteers delivered some training for community groups in Filwood, Bristol.  It came about following discussions with the planning and housing teams at Bristol City Council about how PAE could best support communities living in more economically disadvantaged parts of the city engage with planning activities.  Given that several regeneration projects are coming forward in quick succession in this particular part of Bristol, it was agreed that some guidance on ‘making your voice heard within the planning process’ would be beneficial for local community groups. The event was subsequently organised in liaison with a leading representative from the Knowle West Regeneration Residents Planning Group. 

The session covered three main topic areas: an overview of the planning process; pre-application stage and public engagement; and how to respond to a consultation on a planning application.  It was attended by nine representatives from various community groups who also took part in a lively Q&A towards the end of the session.

In her blog post on this subject, our volunteer Patricia writes:

“Communities often share a frustration as they don’t always understand why their comments and objections to planning documents and planning applications are ignored (or appear to be). I like to think that PAE have made friends at Knowle West who will share the message that planners are prepared to listen and that it is easier if comments are well written, concise and raise solely planning issues to get the “right development in the right place” for their area.

I know it’s a cliché but the most rewarding aspect to volunteering is that you feel you have given something back. Being able to pass on knowledge so that a community can make a good, clear, concise, relevant submission so that they are heard more clearly will be a good result.“

The workshop was well received by attendees, with feedback including: “A very thorough and helpful run through of the planning process…I think people really appreciated having a planning professional, who wasn’t associated with Bristol, answering questions”, workshop participant.