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GRCC Localism Lead Project in Gloucestershire

  • Neighbourhood Planning

Client: Gloucestershire Rural Community Council (GRCC)

GRCC provides free bespoke support for communities in Gloucestershire, bringing free expert support on community planning to Gloucestershire’s rural communities. With the introduction of the Localism Act and new community rights, GRCC were keen to enable communities in the county to understand both the new and existing tools available for ‘bottom-up’ involvement in the planning system.

Place Studio were appointed as lead members of the Localism Network in 2011 to work together with the GRCC’s community development staff to bring planning expertise to the bespoke support on offer to communities across the county – an initiative entitled ‘Localism Lead’.

Initial support was focused on enabling all communities to understand the range of choices available in order to make informed decisions. Many were confused by the new planning tools; some thinking that established ones such as Village Design Statements or Parish Plans were obsolete, some thinking that it was obligatory to produce Neighbourhood Development Plans (NDP). We planned and delivered workshops and presentations across the county and specific community workshops and meetings were also offered to help this first stage.

More recently we have provided bespoke support to help move forward actions identified by the community, from Design Statements in Stroud District to whole NDPs in Forest of Dean District.

The combination of the technical support that Place Studio brings to the Localism Lead project, together with the broad and holistic support provided to communities by the team at the GRCC, is proving to be highly effective in helping to navigate the challenges of community planning and build local community capacity.