North Northants part of national programme to improve where people live

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North Northamptonshire is one of five places across England to have been announced today (Wednesday, March 13) as participants of a new programme to recognise and support high quality places to live.

The Future Place programme is an initiative run by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), Local Government Association (LGA) and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

The five ‘Future Places’ selected as exemplars based on their overarching placemaking visions and innovative approaches, are Bradford, Greater Exeter, Great Yarmouth, Gateshead and North Northamptonshire.

All five are determined to deliver meaningful change which will enhance people’s lives, improve community wellbeing and create sustainable environments.

While each place is very different, they all work in collaboration with public, private or voluntary sector partners to develop and advance innovative placemaking strategies.

The five selected places will now take part in a programme to develop visions for their areas, with training and expert advice from each of the Future Places project partners.

The citation for North Northamptonshire says: “North Northamptonshire is comprised of five partner local authorities who are currently moving towards the formation of a unitary authority.

“It has had a Joint Planning Committee and Joint Planning Unit (JPU) in place since 2004.

“Their ambitious growth strategy to build 40,000 homes between 2011 and 2031 and create high quality Garden Communities, including a new Garden Village, is set out in their core strategy.

“In 2017 the JPU was combined with a delivery unit forming the Joint Planning and Deliver Unit (JDPU).

“This new body plans to advance North Northamptonshire’s ambitious growth agenda (increasing the population by 25%) and ensure quality design.

“North Northamptonshire have already established several place shaping policies which now require implementation across all five local authorities.

“The Future Place programme will support North Northamptonshire’s JDPU deliver the work they have planned for the next year, including creating a Place Shaping website, a Supplementary Planning Document to assist developers, and progressing plans for a new Garden Village.”

Homes England Deputy Chief Executive, Tom Walker, said: “The Future Place programme provides an excellent opportunity to work with exemplar councils to understand not only the needs of each place, but how best to break down the barriers and get more homes built where they are needed most. I welcome this collaboration and look forward to the agency getting involved.”

RIBA President, Ben Derbyshire, offered his congratulations: “Local authorities play a vital role in creating happy, healthy and sustainable communities, and I am proud to be part of this initiative which encourages engagement with communities and collaborative approaches to planning and designing the best possible environments. The commitment these authorities have shown, despite financial and political barriers, is highly commendable. I look forward to working with all five over the next phase of the programme, learning lessons as they develop their visions, and celebrating their success.”

Chartered Institute of Housing President, Jim Strang, said: “Local authorities play an absolutely vital role in helping to create thriving communities that are great places to live and work, and crucially in providing genuinely affordable housing. Congratulations to all of our Futures Places – we look forward to supporting them and following their progress with interest.”

LGA housing spokesman, Cllr Martin Tett, said: “Councils play a critical role in setting the vision and shaping the delivery of high-quality places where people want to live, work and enjoy their time. The five selected Future Places are demonstrating commitment through local leadership and collaboration to deliver meaningful change for their places. We are proud to be a partner of the programme which will showcase and provide expert advice to support high-quality place-making.”

Ian Tant, President of the Royal Town Planning Institute, said: “It is important that we celebrate planners’ creativity and vision in place-making, as well as the innovative and practical ways that many councils are using to foster the strategic collaborations essential to creating successful places. The five chosen Future Places show that strong, experienced local planning leadership makes all the difference to delivering places that thrive and work for people. That’s why we’re supporting this programme to further boost leadership development.”