Capturing Quality in Our Time - Chapter 5

5.0 Discussion and Feedback

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5.1 During the discussions following the presentations and in the feedback a wide range of comments, issues and questions emerged.
PlanningBack to contents
  • It is important to use full powers to set up formal joint planning structures, especially where developments cross local authority boundaries.
  • The benefits of a planned approach exceed the costs, even if it involves a long period of negotiation.
  • All parts of the planning system need to support place shaping and this includes the Inspectorate.
  • We need to encourage members to be bolder, build trust and exercise community leadership. There should be a more 'muscular' use of the planning system, though it must be recognised that this has costs and the developers have deep pockets.
  • Local Authorities should seek support for planning work through ATLAS.
  • What is the legal status of documents like the Cambridgeshire Quality Charter and have they been tested at appeal?
  • There is increasingly a tendency to uproot populations with commuters and temporary residents taking over places. How do we develop compact settlements that co–locate jobs and houses and reduce the need to travel?
  • There is a need to have strategies in place to assess what infrastructure is needed and to engage agencies in integrated delivery plans, e.g. water cycle strategies.
PartnershipsBack to contents
  • It is important to have a shared vision that is held locally by the community.
  • There is a need for better partnership working, especially on matters like transport, between the tiers of government. This may support a case for unitary authorities.
  • The wider use of bodies like Cambridgeshire Horizons should be considered – establish links between them and learn from experience.
  • Consider land pooling as a form of partnership.
Finance and EconomicsBack to contents
  • Develop multiple approaches to funding, e.g. local authorities borrowing against future 'taxes', and have better control of resources to escape the begging mentality.
  • Infrastructure may be funded in exchange for an equity share and compliance with agreed master plan and design code.
  • Mechanism like deferred payments or soft loans for infrastructure against future revenue streams need to be developed to smooth out cash flows over longer periods. There are risks if the scheme fails and problems with big, lumpy costs, like schools.
  • Funding for quality development needs to be captured by discounting land value at the outset. 
  • Funding for regeneration is in decline, especially in smaller towns and cities.
  • Collaboration can be a lever for bringing in more resources.
Climate ChangeBack to contents
  • There is a need for action, but no governance – who is taking the lead?  There needs to be leadership and understanding of the impacts on the area.
  • It needs to be modeled.
  • How is the existing infrastructure working to deal with climate change issues?
CommunityBack to contents
  • Engage the community early, treat this as a continuous process and monitor outcomes.
  • Engage with people and encourage them to do things, not as passive recipients of action – build community capacity.
  • Expectations must be managed.
  • What weight should be attached to views in community engagement?
  • Consider the use of charettes.
DesignBack to contents
  • Understand local conditions, learn from the past (see below) and apply to new development.
  • It is important to use space and consider how people move through space in planning development. Also consider landscape and trees.
  • Use pattern books and design codes that are based on the urban DNA of the place.
  • Do we have the design and implementation skills needed and are we prepared to let the aspirations of the design codes be diluted?
Learning from the past and presentBack to contents
  • Heritage should shape the growth and this requires: heritage characterisation assessment; an understanding of how the character has evolved; and community engagement.
  •  Growth should also reflect the current authenticity of the place as well as the past
  • What is the role of archaeology in place making?
  • We can still learn things from the New Towns and the Garden Cities; and we should be learning from elsewhere.
  • We must share evidence of smarter development from within counties – there may be prototypes and exemplars on our doorsteps.


Historical Plans

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Cambridge historical plans

Winchester historical plans

Worcester historical plans

Brian Human, Vice Chair, HTF
5 January 2010