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The Community Planning Alliance has been hosting webinars since its very beginning, as part of our mission to provide support and training for the many grassroots campaigners around the country.
Details of our upcoming webinars can be found on our Events Calendar, but if you are unable to attend on the day then the recording will be listed here shortly after.
NEW: What happens after Planning Permision is granted?
Just because planning permission is granted, it does not mean your campaign can stand down. There will be conditions to monitor, section 106 agreements to keep an eye on, and developer transgressions to deal with.
This can become a full-time campaign in its own right, as our speakers explained. Both are actively involved with a large development post planning permission.
This session, filmed on November 17th 2022, was chaired by CPA Management Committee member, Simon Thomas, a Hampshire-based parish councillor and long-standing campaigner.
Our first speaker, Claire Baker, is Chair of Owlthorpe Fields Action Group in Sheffield, which has been campaigning for several years. Sadly, planning permission for part of the site was granted and now Claire and her colleagues are busy holding the developer to account as the build moves forward.
Our second speaker, Daniel Fulton, serves as director of Fews Lane Consortium, which campaigns on planning and environmental issues in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire. He told us about the many problems arising during the build-out of Northstowe, the United Kingdom’s largest new town since Milton Keynes.
Essential viewing for all campaigners who want to understand what developers really have in mind when they submit a planning application - and what you can do about it.
NEW: Land Ownership and land reform: a community planning issue
Filmed on September 15th 2022 and Chaired by Dr Quintin Bradley, Senior Lecturer in Planning and Housing Studies at Leeds Beckett University, today's speakers included:
- Clare Symonds - Planning Democracy
- Andy Wightman - Author of “Who Owns Scotland?”
- Laurie Macfarlane - Co-author of “Rethinking the Economics of Land and Housing”
- Kate Ashbrook - General Secretary of the Open Spaces Society
NEW: 'BioBlitzing' - the whys & wherefores
This webinar, recorded on September 6th 2022, focused on how communities can undertake their own 'BioBlitz'. (An intense period of biological surveying in an attempt to record all the living species within a designated area.)
The webinar commenced with Lisa Phipps (Keep Nethercote Rural) sharing what she has learned about recording bird and wildlife sightings. Lisa covered a range of points, including the record centres, why recording is important and much more.
Lisa was followed by Claire Baker and Sandra Fretwell-Smith (both from the Owlthorpe Fields Action Group), who shared their knowledge about planning and executing a community BioBlitz, including recording the data using iNaturalist and recording systems, identifying species and presenting results.
Air Quality Targets - the Government's proposals
New Air Quality targets set out by the Government, for consultation until 27th June (2022), were discussed at our webinar on June 9th 2022.
The presentations were led by Delyth Dyne, Deputy Head Air Quality and Industrial Emissions at Defra, and Tim Dexter, Campaigns Manager, Asthma and Lung UK.
Delyth leads DEFRA's work on National Air Quality Strategy, PM2.5 targets and the Air Quality Management Framework for Local Authorities. She outlined the background, telling us why these targets and timescale have been proposed.
Tim focussed on the health impacts of poor air quality and advocated for more ambitious policies to tackle the health effects of toxic air.
The new Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill - a review
On May 26th 2022, Naomi Luhde-Thompson (Rights Community Action) and Hugh Ellis (TCPA) joined the Community Planning Alliance to provide a review of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill, which was due to have its second reading on June 8th (2022).
Naomi and Hugh talked about what is in the Bill, what is proposed for change in the current system, how local democracy is expected to be impacted, focusing especially on your Right to be Heard, what is due to change in terms of environmental protections and outcomes and more.
Government's Environmental Targets consultation - what you need to know
New environmental targets have been set out by Government in an important consultation, with particular focus on:
- air quality,
- resource efficiency and waste reduction.
This webinar, recorded on April 28th 2022, was designed to help you learn more about these new Environmental Targets, and how you can have your say before the consultation ends on 11th May. Our speakers were:
- Richard Benwell, CEO of the Wildlife and Countryside Link
Richard told us why he believes the Government must aim higher, and why this eight week consultation is so important for the future of the environment and nature.
- Delyth Dyne, Deputy Head of Air Quality and Industrial Emissions at DEFRA.
Delyth leads DEFRA's work on National Air Quality Strategy, PM2.5 targets and the Air Quality Management Framework for Local Authorities. She explained why these targets and timescale have been proposed.
All about solar 'farms'
Solar promoters are contacting farmers and offering them far more money than they could earn growing food. Yet the cumulative impact on the environment, biodiversity and food security is not understood. Nor are the risks of batteries being taken into account.
At this event, jointly hosted with the Solar Campaign Alliance on April 21st 2022, we heard from three expert speakers:
- Professor Michael Alder, who gave us an overview of the Solar Campaign Alliance, and discussed national food security and the biodiversity impact of solar farms.
Michael is a Professor (Emeritus) of Rural Environment at Essex University, FRAgS, DL, and former principal of (the now known as) Writtle University College for 20 years.
- Richard Haynes BSc, who talked about the impact of solar farms on landscape and heritage settings.
Richard obtained a degree in Estate Management from University of Reading before becoming a Chartered Surveyor. His career was spent in private practice but he worked almost exclusively for central and local government, regularly appearing as an expert witness in planning inquiries. He is currently a Trustee of CPRE Essex.
- Dr Edmund Fordham, who told us all we need to know about battery storage.
Edmund is a a physicist and engineer in the energy industries, CPhys, CEng, FInstP.
Housing Need or Housing Demand - what's the difference & why does it matter?
Another excellent webinar from Leeds Beckett University Planning School, recorded on March 24th 2022, with guest speakers:
- David Madden - London School of Economics
- Peter Bill - Property Week & author of ‘Broken Homes’
- Jackie Copley & Andrew Wood - CPRE
- Merle Gering - FOI campaigner
How to fight an unsuitable 'Garden Community'
'Garden Communities' are all the rage with developers. They allow the presentation of developments that are much, much larger than normal as something different and special. They invariably are not.
Modern Garden Communities are sprawling, car-dependent and lacking in the 'community' required by the name. Often, the promised infrastructure is not deliverable and affordable homes are few and far between. The 'garden community' label allows developers to propose huge numbers of houses in locations that are often completely unsuitable.
The sheer size of these proposals can make them seem daunting and unstoppable. They are likely to be presented to communities as a 'done deal'. However that is not the case!
In this webinar, recorded on March 17th 2022, we heard from two north Essex campaigners, Richard Pavitt and Rosie Pearson, whose campaign groups saw off five enormous garden communities proposals. The largest being for 24,000 homes.
Richard and Rosie explained what they learned during their campaigns and shared their top tips on how to get behind developer promises and oppose an unsuitable garden community.
Meet a Planning Inspector
Campaign groups operating within the planning system will, at some stage, be very likely called to attend a Local Plan examination or an appeal hearing. In that situation, there will be only one arbiter: a planning inspector.
It can be daunting for community representatives to attend these hearings. They will be faced with rows of planning officers, consultants and lawyers - all experts in their fields and for whom appeals hearings are bread and butter.
We were therefore delighted that the Planning Inspectorate lent us an inspector for our webinar on March 3rd 2022!
Some of the subjects she advised us on are:
- how community groups should prepare;
- how best to present your evidence - both in writing and in person;
- and what are the most important do's and don'ts.
Planning, the Tilted Balance and the Property Lobby
Planning for housing supply in England is governed by a presumption in favour of sustainable development, otherwise known as the ‘tilted balance’. The tilted balance makes the proving of harm that might result from a development much more onerous. Has the balance between public and property interests in planning tilted too far?
Recorded on February 24th 2022, this Leeds Beckett University Planning School webinar was Chaired by Dr Quintin Bradley, Senior Lecturer in Planning and Housing Studies at Leeds Beckett University. With guest speakers:
- Bob Colenutt - Author of ‘The Property Lobby’;
- Constanze Bell - Planning Barrister, King’s Chambers;
- Emma Lancaster - Director, Quod Planning Consultancy.
Considering Opportunities for Local Measuring & Monitoring of Air Pollution (Session 2)
The Community Planning Alliance held the second of three planned events aimed at engaging communities more actively in the air pollution/air quality debate on Tuesday 8th February 2022, continuing the (non-polluting) journey to take action to reduce the harmful contaminants in our air. This second session focused on increasing local measuring and monitoring of air pollution and how communities can get involved.
It was, once again, a very interesting and informative webinar, with three great guest speakers:
- Professor Stephen Peckham, who helped us to understand why we should be undertaking local monitoring of air pollution;
- Graham Turnbull, who provided a very practical demonstration, showing us how to build our own air quality monitors;
- Mike Josephs, who talked about rural air quality monitoring and the concept of the Smart Village.
Their contact details can be found in the presentation pack, which includes all the slides from the event.
How to become a Councillor (and why)
Recorded on 27th January 2022, this inspiring webinar focuses on why Local politics are so important and how you can become a Councillor and make a difference in your community. With guest speakers:
- Joanne Beavis - Parish Councillor, District Councillor & former County Councillor
- Tom Walsh - Parish Councillor, District Councillor & former Town Planner
- Simon Thomas - CPA Committee Member, campaigner & former Parish Councillor
Engaging Communities in the Air Pollution/Air Quality Debate (Session 1)
The Community Planning Alliance has been supported by Andrew Jackson, Head of the Government's Joint Air Quality Unit (DfT/DEFRA) to develop a series of short events aimed at actively engaging member organisations and other community representatives in discussions about next steps in the campaign to drive improvements to air quality in the UK.
At the first of three sessions, recorded on December 7th 2021, our three distinguished speakers were:
- Andrew Jackson - Head of the Defra/DfT Joint Air Quality Task Force
- Professor Roy Harrison (OBE, FRS) - University of Birmingham
- Heather Henry (RN, BSc (Hons) Nursing, MBA, Queen's Nurse) - Founder of Breathchamps
We discussed the debate to date, on targets for air pollution, the complexities, the range of pollutants, the impact on our health and wellbeing, and much more.
Please Note: You can also view/download the slide presentation that accompanied this webinar by clicking here.
Into The Lions' Den - Preparing for Examination of a Local Plan
Examination in Public is the end game for campaigners, often after years of consultations and plan-making. Once you get to the ‘Reg 19’ consultation, or Draft Submission Plan, then you have only one audience: a Planning Inspector.
Getting your consultation response right at this stage is crucial because it determines whether you get a seat at the table or not. Preparation for the hearings is key – you need to think about hearing statements, your team and your strategy. This webinar, recorded on November 18th 2021, will give you top-tips for this all-important stage of the planning process, with input from:
- Caroline Dibden, campaigner & CPA Secretary, who has survived the experience and won battles;
- Naomi Luhde-Thomson, planning expert at Rights : Community : Action.
This webinar is intended to help level the playing field. EiP’s are full of barristers and planning consultants. We hope it will help you to go into your Examination confident and fully prepared.
Environmental Protection - a poor second to 'Build, Build, Build'?
There is increasing concern that environmental protection policies in the planning system have been compromised by the perceived imperatives of housing supply. An 82% increase in the volume of residential development approved in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty suggests that protection is undermined. Recently the methodology for measuring Biodiversity Net Gain in development has come under criticism. More alarming still is the long-term deterioration in 14 out of 42 key biodiversity indicators. On November 11th 2021, our panel reviewed the evidence and shared their expertise on this hot topic.
Our speakers were:
- Lorayne Woodend Wall - Planning Officer at Friends of the Lake District
- Jonathan Easton - Planning and Environmental Barrister at Kings Chambers
- Faye Durkin - Head of Ecology at Ecus Ltd
- Duncan Hartley - Director of Rural Solutions
Session chaired by Dr Quintin Bradley, Senior Lecturer in Planning and Housing at Leeds Beckett University, with an introduction by Rosie Pearson from the Community Planning Alliance.
Biodiversity Net Gain - problems & solutions
Recorded on November 4th 2021, this helpful webinar includes contributions from:
- Sophus zu Ermgassen, based at Kent University, carried out research for his PhD which explored the ecological outcomes of mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain using evidence from early-adopter jurisdictions in England. He told us what he discovered ... and what community groups should look out for.
- Max Heaver, of DEFRA's Net Gain Policy and Legislation, Land Use Division, spoke to us about his work and then took questions from the audience.
- Rosie Pearson, Chairman of the Community Planning Alliance, talked through the responses to the CPA survey - whether people like BNG or loathe it, and what suggestions they have to improve it.
How to deal with the press
In this webinar, recorded on October 12th 2021, journalist & writer, Ros Coward, shares her top tips for campaigners dealing with the press.
Learn about the importance of building and maintaining press relationships, of thinking of inventive, relevant and newsworthy angles, and of considering who you seek to influence and what your goal is.
Other useful topics include the five why's of headline writing - who, what, when, where, why - which will prove useful for all those writing press releases, and why local press is just as important (if not more important) than national press.
What next for Public Engagement in Planning?
The Planning White Paper and proposed Planning Bill will abolish public engagement in development decisions and confine democratic participation to consultation over local plans. These proposals are justified by the claim that public engagement enables minorities to obstruct property development and contributes to raising the cost of housing.
This webinar, a joint venture with Leeds Beckett University Planning School recorded on September 30th 2021, helped to identify what rights of democratic engagement exist, who can exercise them, what will happen if Government proposals go ahead, and what additional rights of participation are needed.
With contributions from:
- Quintin Bradley - Senior Lecturer, Leeds Beckett University
- Huw Ellis - Policy Director, Town and Country Planning Association
- Bob Pritchard - Legal Director, Shoosmiths
- Rosie Pearson - Founder, Community Planning Alliance
- Naomi Luhde-Thompson - Chief Executive Director, Rights: Community: Action
Turning consultation into participation
Recorded on July 27th 2021, this talk by David Farnsworth, who has a professional background in urban development, planning, and democratic participation for both the private and public sectors, gives us pointers on how to encourage our Councils to work with us: turning consultation into community participation.
All about Neighbourhood Plans
In this talk, recorded on July 1st 2021, you'll hear top tips for developing a successful Neighbourhood Plan, followed by questions and answers from the audience.
Our speakers were CPA Committee Member, Simon Thomas, and Nick Stenning, both of whom survived the Neighbourhood Plan process in Hampshire and are here to tell the tale.
Housing supply, affordability, and access to land
Chaired by Dr Quintin Bradley, Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University Planning School, this webinar was recorded on May 20th 2021.
The speakers included:
- Phil Collings - Head of Disposals, Northern Division, Homes England
- Adam Brannen - Head of Regeneration, Leeds City Council
- Rosie Pearson - Founder, Community Planning Alliance
- Daniel Starkey - Associate at Spawforths
Do you have or know of any resources that should be included in this library?
If so, please contact us today!