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Supporting community and town councils in the Brecon Beacons

The Brecon Beacons National Park Authority has commissioned Planning Aid Wales for a second time to help community and town councils contribute to preparation of a Local Development Plan for the Park area.

In 2008, at the early stages of the Local Development Plan process, Planning Aid Wales delivered a series of training and capacity-building events for all community and town councils within the national park area. These workshops explained the Local Development Plan process and encouraged community and town councils to play a proactive role in it. They also introduced participants to a range of tools and techniques for involving their local communities. As a result of this work a majority of councils worked with their local communities to develop a local contribution to the emerging Local Development Plan.

In January 2009, the National Park Authority published its Preferred Strategy, and consultation events and meetings have been held to gather the views of individuals and community and town councils. Communities themselves have also organised their own events and meetings. A regular timetable of consultation and engagement activity has enabled the National Park Authority to build a picture of some of the key concerns and issues that community and town councils hold regarding the emerging Local Development Plan.

Now Planning Aid Wales is commissioned to deliver another programme of training and capacity-building workshops to support community participation during the later stages of Local Development Plan preparation from the so-called ‘Deposit consultation’ through to the public inquiry. The interactive training programme will include three different half-day workshops delivered sequentially between end-March and mid-June 2010.

Participants will learn about the plan preparation process so far and the key stages still left to complete. One aspect of plan-making that has traditionally attracted much interest from local communities is the selection of specific sites for housing development, so the methodology developed by the planning authority for this will be explained in a clear and logical way.

Participants will be alerted to key consultations and will consider practical ways of identifying and feeding through the views and aspirations of their local communities in these. They will also have an opportunity to explore what they can do to maximise the effect of their involvement in the process.

The programme will finish with a drop-in session that will provide assistance and guidance for community and town councils considering preparing a consultation response on the deposit Local Development Plan.

If you are interested in attending these events, please e-mail strategy@breconbeacons.org

If you’d like to find out more about the possibility of having a similar training programme in your area, please contact Planning Aid Wales’ Training Officer, Maria Allen.

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Planning Aid Wales is an independent, charitable organisation helping individuals and communities across Wales to participate more effectively in the planning system.

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