Community Led Planning (CLP) is a step-by-step process that enables every citizen to participate in, and contribute to improving the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of their local area. This unique approach to community empowerment has been developed and refined in rural areas since the late 1970s, largely as a response to the gradual withdrawal of public sector services and the increasing need for communities to look after their own affairs.
Community Led Plans have been known by many different names including Village Design Statements or Appraisals, Parish Plans, Market Town Action Plans and more recently, Neighbourhood Plans. The key characteristic defining all these plans is they are not imposed from above, but instead have been initiated and led by local communities and their volunteers via a step-by-step process that can be summarised as ‘LEAD’.
National ACRE’s CLP toolkit provides step by step guidance for communities who want to produce any holistic community led plans to improve the wellbeing and sustainability of their neighbourhood. The toolkit consists of:
- Information Sheets – they explain what CLP can do for communities, the support available and how it links in with the government’s Localism agenda and new community ‘rights’ which includes Neighbourhood Plans. Information sheets can be downloaded for free from the National ACRE website.
- Advice & Resource Sheets – these explain what communities are expected to do at each step of a Community Led Plan, outlining best practice and signposting to Resource Sheets, Topic Sheets and other related information where relevant. There are a number of templates for a variety of forms, terms of reference for the planning, steering group model constitutions, example consultation methods and suggested surveys. Advice & Resource sheets are only available through the Rural Officers at Northamptonshire ACRE.
- Topic Sheets – introduce a range of topics (issues) that communities may wish to consider when producing their plan. These have been produced with other key stakeholder organisations with expertise in the topic. Topic Sheets are free to download from the National ACRE website.
If you are interested in carrying out any form of community led planning, or want to find out what support and advice is available. please leave a comment below for the attention of Elaine O’Leary, Rural Officer.