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Neighbourhood plan websites

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Neighbourhood plan websites

  1. 1. Neighbourhood Plans – Web PresenceThe web presence that other “front runner” areas have, tend to be because they wereset up by well established community groups. As such do not have a specific focuson neighbourhood plans but more general community issues. The Bermondsey andBankside neighbourhood forums may be interested in the following websites andcontacting the relevant groups to learn from their experiences.Balsall Heath (Birmingham) The community grouphas been established for over 20 years and was set up to improve a deprived area ofthe city. Their website does not have any specific information on their neighbourhoodplan but because of their experience of community led regeneration have receivedHome Office funding to advise other groups. They have an executive body and paidstaff. Contact details are: 0121 446 6183. (Bristol) A well established community groupin a suburban area of Bristol which has pressure from developers for growth. Againthe website covers a range of topics including training courses for local people andplans for the area.Dawlish (Devon) A community group thathas created a strategic action plan 2005-15 for their area and a masterplan for thetown centre’s development. The plan is available to view on the website. Contact isthrough a form on the website or (01626) 866803.Devonshire Park (Wirral) The residentsmaintain a blog about their activities.Hackbridge (Sutton) The information on Hackbridge Community Forum is hosted onthe Sutton Council website. There is an existing Supplementary Planning Documentcovering the area which might be of interest because their ambition is to become thegreenest suburb in the UK. Contact details are: 020 8770 4996, Valley (Surrey) Prior to the neighbourhoodplanning award an exercise to establish a vision for the area was carried out, and thiswebsite was part of the that.Philip Hylton at Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council also has some usefulinformation on the Ascot group’s thinking:What we have done in Ascot et al. is to establish what they will need from the web site andwhat they will need as a back office function / collaborative workspace. I set up an examplewebsite for the group using wordpress, as used by Bermondsey Forum, to start a discussionand arranged quotes from some web developers. The group have decided that themainstream developer quotes are too expensive (£3000+) but there is a local web developerthat they are keen to involve if the price is right. Negotiations are ongoing, and in the interimwe will add more to the free web site to make it usable. To view this page, go to: This public fronting web page is a useful hubwhere I envisage posting documents, polls and links to consultations such as a surveymonkey questionnaire (using the council’s account).However, wordpress sites do not offer the functionality to manage a Neighbourhood Plan, andwhile the council has Limehouse software, we are keen for it to be community owned. Itherefore looked at a range of collaborative software like Yahoo Groups, Wikispaces, PBworks, all of which allow group discussion and collaborative working – but all have their
  2. 2. limitations. At present the group are using a yahoo group and a personalised group email toutilise in conjunction with the web site as a conduit for information, to have people sign up tothe process, and to notify of updates. This is very much in its infancy and we do not know howit will work in practice at this time. In our frontrunner Neighbourhood, Bray Parish, at presentthey are asking their community if anyone who is involved in IT can set up a decent website. Ifnot they too will go with the wordpress site.