Sustaining and Revitalising a Market Town
Ross-on-Wye is a market town of around 12,000 people, set in the beautiful Wye Valley, and is the centre for a surrounding population of around 26,000. It is an historic town, regarded as the cradle of tourism in England, and almost all of the town centre is in a Conservation Area defined by Historic England as ‘at risk’. Sustaining and revitalising the town centre in these challenging times and given its historic nature was one of the key drivers behind the decision to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan.
The Place Studio team were appointed by the Steering Group to develop an approach to plan-making that was fully inclusive and resulted not only in planning policies to manage future growth, but also a practical document that the town will use to deliver local aspirations and address issues. Our team provided support to the Steering Group from the outset, initially running workshops and helping to set up and run consultation events, and then guiding members of the Steering Group to go out and compile a substantial evidence base, working closely with town centre businesses.
The Ross-on-Wye Neighbourhood Plan successfully passed examination and referendum and was formally 'made' in June 2021.
Our work on this project received a commendation in the category for Excellence in Plan Making at the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Awards for Planning Excellence 2021.
The judges said, '(we) chose to commend this entry not only to highlight the fantastic work carried out, but to promote the transferability of the work across the UK. This submission showed a clear passion from the planners in wanting to drive this Neighbourhood Plan forward and their work went above and beyond for both planning and the community. They were able to engage effectively with the local community, including difficult to reach groups, to give them a sense of ownership, which led to a successful implementation of the Plan. This project, that brings people back to the centre of planning, is a positive and beneficial framework that should be replicated.'
It was also a finalist in the RTPI West Midlands Awards for Planning Excellence 2020.
"... the multi-disciplinary team at Place Studio have consistently provided clear guidance from their deep experience. Despite the twists and turns they have consistently delivered to time and budget - and remained entirely unflappable throughout."
Melvin Reynolds, co-opted Chair, Ross-on-Wye Town Council's Neighbourhood Plan Sub-committee