Pressures for housing provision are most keenly felt by smaller towns, often with a discrete footprint and distinctive character. This applies to many of the Forum's Members and two conferences, held in Ely in December 2004 and in Cirencester last July, have already gone some way to bringing good practice guidance to a wide audience.
With support from East Cambridgeshire District Council and LDA Design the process of achieving housing growth demonstrated by the Ely case study has been brought together in a publication, 'Focus on Housing Growth' (see publications) which will be launched at this year's Annual Conference in Bury St Edmunds in October.
Work continues around the issue of achieving high quality urban design for housing growth. Following workshops held at the Cirencester conference, a small task group is working with EHTF Corporate Members Pegasus Planning to collect and collate best practice into a succinct guide which will be published in the New Year.
As the nation's favourite leisure pastime, the retail 'offer' is also under constant scrutiny. Many towns are faced with the need to redevelop shopping centres built 30 or 40 years ago and to provide contemporary facilities in sensitive historic contexts.
The Annual Conference in Bury St Edmunds (see events will bring together experts on all aspects of redevelopment and explore the town as a case study - with its recently approved plans for the controversial Cattle Market scheme. It will also provide an opportunity to hear outcomes from recently completed schemes in Canterbury, Exeter and Cambridge and to explore the real implications for historic towns of some commonly used phrases - such as 'sustainable communities'