Joint working on core strategies
In the new planning system the ‘duty to cooperate’ will require local authorities to collaborate with each other in shaping neighbourhoods and places.
Producing a joint core strategy may be one way for local authorities to collaborate across boundaries and address the sub regional scale.
Working jointly on a core strategy may enable local authorities to develop a shared vision with common goals and aspirations. Furthermore, the area covered by the document may be more aligned with how places actually work rather than being tied to administrative boundaries.
With a joint core strategy it is even more important for local authorities to focus in on individual neighbourhoods and places to inform the wider more strategic vision for the whole area and keep sight of local distinctiveness.
Many local authorities who have participated in a CABE LDF workshop have been working jointly on their core strategies. The challenges they faced in joining forces and the advice they received in the workshop was often similar.
Here we share some of the advice given to planners working on joint core strategies over the past three years of CABE’s LDF workshops.
Explain the benefits of working jointly
- Explain why the core strategy is being done jointly – are there common problems with common solutions?
- Explain that early communication and coordination over strategic issues has the potential to form a solid foundation for future collaboration and joint working.
- Articulate the benefits – a joint evidence base, efficiencies, looking at the bigger picture.
Acknowledge the challenges
- Acknowledge that it may be difficult politically and technically and it may take time to work at a larger scale with more parties involved.
- Plan for more complexity when dealing with a larger area.
Have a shared vision
- It is important to think about the area covered by the strategy as a whole.
- Have a shared vision and establish how each local authority will contribute to the shared objectives – what role will each area play?
- The core strategy is where you can bring together all the other corporate documents, frameworks and strategies.
Explore the different places and neighbourhoods
- Once the area as a whole has been understood and articulated diagrammatically, the different places and neighbourhoods can be explored in more detail.
- Understand the joint area as a sum of many parts – it may be impossible to understand the function and character of such a large area as a single place.
- Explore the different places that combine to make up the area.
Work across boundaries
- Avoid being constrained by administrative boundaries – look at how places work and their relationship with other places – the flow of people in and out of the area.
- Look at cross boundary connections – how does transport cut across boundaries.
More guidance on producing joint core strategies is available from the Planning Advisory Service at http://www.pas.gov.uk/pas/aio/77006.