Planning Scrutiny and Campaigning

Localism Baseline Project

Localism is a buzzword these days, but in planning terms it basically means any activity that is happening at a smaller geographical scale than the local authority. It’s important for us to understand it better because local communities know what really matters to them, such as new developments, amenities and accountability of decision-makers. Being better engaged in localism might also be helpful to us in terms of finding new funding and supporters.

What do we need help with?

We’d like to establish the coverage and status of local-level planning activity across our patch, and what value that activity could be to us, for example in opportunities to better influence decisions, raise our profile and recruit supporters. So we’d be examining which places have activity going on that is relevant to localism, whether we’ve been involved already, and whether there are hotspots or gaps that present opportunities for us? Relevant activity might include:

  • Neighbourhood Plans
  • Village Design Statements
  • Community Assemblies
  • Masterplans for sites, redevelopments etc
  • Parish Council/residents’ group activism

What sort of volunteer help is needed?

We really need research. Much of this can be done online and with reference to our existing records, but in some cases we’ll need to contact individuals, initiate or renew dialogue between CPRE and local groups/activists, and find out what’s happening locally. Occasionally, site visits may be needed, but don’t worry if you’re not able to travel.

Casework Mapping

A mapped record of recent casework across our geographical area could help us to better understand what and where the planning pressures are, predict what callenges and campaign opportunities might be coming next, and prioritise our workload. The way our casework is currently filed, plus the way our geography is dicided up into different local authority areas, makes it hard to visualise what’s happening where.

We’d like to identitfy case work hotspots on a map by:

  • Plotting the location of recaent CPRE submissions to planning applications
  • Seeing if our planning database can/could provide location reference data, and how to use it.
  • Seeing if easy/cheap we tools/apps (eg google) can help
  • Using forward planning information, eg SHLAA (Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment) sites etc to forecast future hotspots.

What sort of volunteer help is needed?

You’d need to be good with maps and and be able to get to grips with using our Microsoft Access database and the Internet to pull together information. You may need to spend some time in the office and/or in our archive, and there might also be a little bit of fieldwork, but that’s not compulsory.

Local Policy e-Handbook Co-ordinator

We cover 8 local authorities. Their planning policies and consultations are constantly changing and are at different stages. Over the years CPRE has done lots of work in consultations and scrutiny of these policies, and it’s very difficult to keep track of exactly what we’ve said at each stage.

We’d like to compile an e-handbook, which would be an easy to use guide to:

  • The status and recent history of planning policy across each of our local planning authorities
  • Our Involvement – key issues and sites that we’ve made representations on
  • People – local activists and other organisations we’ve worked with on these issues
  • Archive of local relevant authority documents and our own documents.

What sort of volunteer help is needed?

If you like researching paper-based and electronics sources, and/or are interested in how the planning policy process differs from one local authority to another, you’ll probably enjoy this project. You’ll need to be IT literate, and be able either to come into the office regularly for a few weeks or work remotely from your own computer. This is a team project, so you won’t be alone, but some of the work can be done in your own time.

For more information, please contact Andrew Wood or call us on (0114) 279 2655.