I was at a well attended meeting of the Neighbourhood Plan in Lynton and Lynmouth last night where we brought together the neighbourhood reps (who are doing much of the work) and the town councillors (who will eventually approve the plan).
Lots of good feedback about how the first phase consultation went – 140 responses (not bad given that there are only about 700 households) although the focus on affordable housing clearly confused some people or made them think it wasn’t relevent to them. There was also a strong response from local businesses saying that the plan must address the need for local jobs.
We also debated the issue of second homes – they push up prices and stand empty for much of the year so can undermine the socio-economic structure of the local community. As a result, “the town is dying” one person said, noting that the primary school will only have six children enrolling in September! Addressing the issue of second homes will require primary legislation – but will the Government have a stomach for it? This prompted someone to speculate on how many MPs have second homes!
We now have to plan a series of workshops with the neighbourhood reps where we will really dig into the information we’ve gathered and start working up proposals for the town. Our initial focus will be on actions i.e. what we want to achieve. We’ll then work out what policies we need to enable the actions happen.
Nigel Kersey from DCLG came along to observe and at the end told us that we were one of the better frontrunners. “Your’re all doing very well” he said. Nice!
The work that Hugh and Julian did at the Carriageworks and Westmoreland House has been praised in the Bristol Evening Post. Cllr Dr Jon Rogers said “this was one of the best consultations that I have been involved in. Thanks are due to the consultation facilitators, Julian Mellor and Hugh Nettelfield from 2MD Regeneration Ltd.”
Read the full article at http://www.thisisbristol.co.uk.
Community Vision for the Carriageworks and Westmoreland House on Stokes Croft, Bristol was launched last night at an exhibition hosted by the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft. Working with the project Stakeholder and Steering Groups 2MD facilitated the whole consultation process and produced the final vision. It’s been widely applauded for the way in which it has drawn together some quite dispirate communities and ambitions, and developed a cohesive set of ideas for the site.
This is what some people have been saying:
“Lots of people are stunned that we are going to them to ask what should be done. You guys are doing an absolutely amazing job and should be smiling ear to ear. We wanted exemplary public consultation of the sort never seen before and you guys are brining it. Thank you SO much.”
“Just been to your event this evening, very interesting. I look forward to the next stage in the renaissance of Stokes Croft, well done all of you: especially those who do the difficult work of brokering and negotiating different, strongly held, judgments: more of that will be needed if this all works!”
“You have done a nice job on this. Kudos.”
“Saw the excellent community vision last night. Well done to everyone at Carriageworks Action Group”
The exhibition is on for a week so, if you’re able, call in at Jamaica St studios, Bristol.
“Godwin is one of the most creative spirits of this century”
DCLG has announced that 108 more communities are going to start working on their neighbourhood plans. The Communities Minister Bob Neill said “There has been enormous interest in neighbourhood planning and the large number of communities jumping at the chance to trial these new powers demonstrates the enthusiasm people have for this local approach to planning. For the first time communities will be in the driving seat and allowed to shape the way they want their area to develop instead of having a vision imposed upon them from above.”
The reality of course is the hard job of getting the community to engage in what can be a very dry process, and then getting the local council to let go and enable the community to deliver the local agenda. That’s a tough challenge in itself, but then at the end of it there has to be a referendum. But what should the referendum question be? And what happens if people don’t like one bit of the plan – does the whole plan have to fail? As yet no one has worked through the process far enough to discover what the answers to those questions should be, so we’re all the guinea pigs!
2MD is well placed to work with communities to help you through the neighbourhood planning process. Through the Positive Development Trust, Julian is delivering the process of consulting wth the local comnmunity and working up the neighbourhood plan proposals in Lynton and Lynmouth, one of the first 14 vanguards. And in Bristol 2MD has delivered the applauded Carriageworks Community Vision. So if you want to have a chat about how to deliver your neighbourhood plan, or would like us to come and help you, do get in touch!
An interesting day in London last week. Firstly meeting Apple‘s education people to talk about support for visitor interpretation in the Tamar Valley (notable that they offer support rather than cash discounts!). Lots of interesting ideas about how the new visitor centre could be tooled up and offer something quite ground breaking in the area.
Then to an interesting (and unexpected) discussion over lunch with, amongst others, Mark Campanale from the Social Stock Exchange and Tim Crabtree from Wessex Reinvestment Trust about the virtues of IPS and straight company setups for raising capital by share issues. IPS rules have been adopted by many social enterprises as they are now relatively straight forward as a means of raising money from the community via share issues. But the shares aren’t tradable (or ‘on-market’) so aren’t eligible for the Enterprise Investment Scheme or as a place for your pension. The trouble with that is the perception of much higher cost and tougher regulation. SSE are trying to promote the on-market approach as a way of tapping into all those pension pots (mine included!) that are otherwise invested in conventional big-businesses, and thereby bring huge investment in the social enterprise sector. The discussion, which focused on getting investment into renewables, was enlightening!