Leeds City Council – Neighbourhood planning update

Posted on the 14th December 2017

Arguably, more than any other major city or urban area in England, Leeds comes to mind as a place where neighbourhood planning has really taken off. We asked Abbie Miladinovic, a My Community Champion from Leeds City Council to give us an overview of neighbourhood planning in the city and explain how the City Council and Leeds Beckett University are working with groups developing plans.

As part of her update Abbie shares a fantastic interactive policies map of the city’s first inner city plan – Holbeck. Click here to look at the map and click on different sites in Holbeck to discover which plan polices apply where.

Leeds City Council update

2017 has been a very busy year for Neighbourhood Planning in Leeds. Of the 35 designated neighbourhood areas in the district, six neighbourhood plans have successfully passed referendum; Bardsey-cum-Rigton (93.82%), Barwick in Elmet and Scholes (92.77%), Boston Spa (89%), Clifford (91.77%), Collingham (91.9%) and most recently Thorp Arch (92.19%).
Eight neighbourhood planning groups have completed their formal Pre-Submission Consultation and we expect that they will all be submitting their plans for independent examination and referendum over the next six months.

The Holbeck Neighbourhood Plan recently passed examination and is the first inner city community to reach independent examination in Leeds. This was a team effort and featured strong collaboration between the Holbeck Neighbourhood Forum, Planning Aid England, the Council and others. This included an interactive online policies map to accompany the plan, which can be viewed here.

The Forum are to continue working for Holbeck once the plan is made and discussions have already taken place on how this collaboration can continue. The Referendum is expected to take place on 1 March 2018.

There are seven inner areas designated and we will showcase the Holbeck Neighbourhood Plan to encourage other inner areas and disadvantaged groups to consider how neighbourhood planning and other initiatives can benefit them.

With more plans coming forward and being likely to be made in the coming months, the Council is working to develop a collaborative strategy for monitoring and implementation of neighbourhood plans in the development management process, as well as across the Council. To build on collaborative relationships established through supporting our neighbourhood planning groups in Leeds, we are working with groups and local stakeholders to support positive outcomes and the effective use of neighbourhood plans. Monitoring and delivery information will then be used to support groups should they wish to undertake a review of their neighbourhood plans in the future.

A Design Toolkit to support neighbourhood planning groups to include high-quality design aspirations in their plans will be published shortly. The toolkit includes the range of options available to groups to incorporate design, what evidence is needed, and signposts to plans that have successfully achieved this.

The Council views neighbourhood planning as an opportunity for officers to become more connected to the communities that we serve and for the development of skills more generally. There is an opportunity for learning more generally too and students from across the country have benefitted from working with the Council and local communities on neighbourhood plans. This includes Leeds Beckett planning students who will be joining the Council on a 10 week placement early in the New Year. The students will be undertaking specific project work to support groups in the process and will gain valuable experience of service delivery in Local Planning Authorities.

2018 promises to be just as busy for neighbourhood planning in Leeds, and the Council is looking forward to building on the progress that has been made to further support groups engaged in this process.

For those in Leeds, or the surrounding area:
The Council and Leeds Beckett University will be hosting an Inner Area Event in March 2018 which will feature workshops, presentations and discussions on how to progress neighbourhood plans in inner area and disadvantaged communities.

by Abbie Miladinovic, Planner (Project Support) at Leeds City Council.

Find out more about My Community Champions

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