RTPI London event ‘Levelling the Playing Fields for Communities’ was held at London Southbank University on 16th November. This aimed to bring planning practitioners (public, private, third sector and academic) together with community groups to discuss the delivery of the Coalition government’s flagship legislation, the Localism Act.
The event had four speakers, three of whom were from third sector organisations working with communities through the planning process.- Mark Lee from DCLG, Maja Jorgensen from Glass House Community Led Design, Richard Crutchley from Open-City and Allison Borden from Planning Aid for London.
Mark Lee from DCLG presented on the Localism Act. Lee stated April 2012 would be the year when secondary legislation on neighbourhood planning would be put into place. Questions were put to Lee on how neighbourhood planning would work in London. It was noted by attendees that London might struggle to define neighbourhoods particularly in cross borough boundary areas, which is a situation unique to Greater London.
Maja Jorgensen from Glass House Community Led Design presented on services that the national charity offers communities. Jorgensen stated that the organisation focuses on giving local residents skills to engage with development. Opportunities to work with Glass House Community Led Design, in association with their successful bid for DCLG funding, were outlined. This included looking at neighbourhood design or attending events on community led design and creative planning.
Open-City’s Richard Crutchley presentation gave examples of communities involvement through routes not outlined in the Coalition Government’s Localism Act. Open-City discussed setting up Residents Design Panels to make residents part of the decision making process in planning.
Allison Borden from Planning Aid for London (PAL) gave a presentation with practical examples of localism from as early as 1973, when PAL was set up. Borden then presented lessons learnt from previous community planning work including remembering the important role of Council Members. PAL is currently working with White City Residents Association (London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham), which has recently set up a neighbourhood forum.
All presentations are all available on the RTPI London website. RTPI London would like to thank SouthBankUniversityfor letting us host this event at their campus.