North Northamptonshire's place shaping workshops are a good example of councils and local communities working together to plan for the future of their place.
North Northamptonshire Joint Planning Unit (NNJPU) were inspired by CABE’s research looking at methods and examples of urban design at the large scale. They and the four local authorities they represent – Corby, East Northamptonshire, Kettering and Wellingborough – wanted to improve their adopted core strategy by taking a more place-based and community-led approach to its review.
CABE helped NNJPU to plan and run two three-day stakeholder workshops – one to explore issues around identity and the potential of places, the second to develop and test emerging growth scenarios. In doing so, NNJPU and its partners have:
- opened up the dialogue about growth in their area, allowing all views to be aired
- developed a strong evidence base on qualitative issues
- reinforced the need to continue planning together for the future of the area
- raised awareness about the role of good design, positive planning practices and quality of place among a range of partners
- given strong direction to the revision of the core strategy through agreeing key themes and principles
- generated real spatial options in a transparent and collaborative manner.
This project shows what can be achieved by dealing with often difficult issues around growth and change in a workshop format and by using the language of design and quality of place. It has allowed people to come to a collective agreement on what they want for their places.
Through enablers, staff and its Northamptonshire-based design manager, and in conjunction with the TransForm Places architecture centre, CABE helped this process by:
- working with NNJPU to develop the programme
- being an active part of the steering group and working groups
- providing a workshop lead and facilitators for the events
- advising on generation of themes and spatial scenarios
- bringing together workshop outputs into draft options
- establishing the groundwork for a quality charter
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