Working with communities to shape places
Shropshire Council has been working with local councillors, town councils and parish councils to shape the places in which people live, as part of its plans to refresh and reinvigorate its 18 countywide Place Plans.
Originally created back in 2011/12 as part of the Local Plan process, the Place Plans identify the infrastructure and investment needs within each community, including things such as roads, transport facilities, flood defences, schools and educational facilities, medical facilities, sporting and recreational facilities and open spaces. They are aimed at ensuring that Shropshire Council and its partners understand the local priorities within each community, and that resources can therefore be targeted appropriately.
Gwilym Butler, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, place planning and regulatory services, said:
“A great deal has changed since the Place Plans were first created; therefore, it was really important for us to revisit them to make sure that they accurately reflect our communities needs and wants, whilst taking into consideration the increasing need for homes.
“Health provision is also obviously a key part of the Place Plans and we’re keen to build further links between the health and well-being agenda and place planning moving forward.”
Between March 2019 and May 2019, the council held 20 Place Plan meetings across the county to gather views and collect information from local councillors and representatives from town councils and parish councils, as well as feeding in information from infrastructure providers such as utility companies and health providers.
“These meetings were extremely informative and useful and we’ve had some great feedback.
“We know that every place is different, with different needs, and it’s important that we understand this if we are to get things right. To help us to do this we’ve recently created a Place Plan officer team – a dedicated team of six officers who have been an invaluable element of the place planning process so far.
“The team is now busy incorporating the feedback into the revised plans, which will be ready later this summer.”
Once published, the Place Plans will be considered ‘live’ documents which communities can update to reflect changing infrastructure needs. These updates can be made by working with the relevant Place Plan officer, who will be able to co-ordinate any necessary conversations with other council teams, and with relevant external partners.
Place Plans is just one of many items being discussed as part of Gwilym Butler’s portfolio holder report for communities, place planning and regulatory services at Full Council this week (Thursday 25 July 2019).
The Place Plans are based around the 18 main market towns/key centres of Shrewsbury, Oswestry, Whitchurch, Wem, Ellesmere, Market Drayton, Minsterley/Pontesbury, Ludlow, Bishop’s Castle, Church Stretton, Cleobury Mortimer, Craven Arms, Bridgnorth, Albrighton, Broseley, Highley, Much Wenlock and Shifnal, and their wider hinterland.