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Exploring whether the UK Localism Act (2011) and effective community engagement can empower communities and deliver place sensitive development

Greaves, Mark and Romice, Ombretta (2015) Exploring whether the UK Localism Act (2011) and effective community engagement can empower communities and deliver place sensitive development. In: Tradition and Heritage in the Contemporary Image of the City. Cracow University of Technology Press, Krakow. ISBN 978-83-7242-798-4

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This paper illustrates the case of the historic market town of Malmesbury, England as an important example for neighbourhood planning, exploring whether localism can redress the balance of power between communities and developers, as well as facilitate community-supported development which respects and enhances a place’s character, function and identity. Given current planning and development proposals and years of substandard, inappropriate development, the town was at a crucial crossroads. Through strategic engagement led by the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community, local stakeholders developed a clear and shared vision and identity, forming the basis of an effective campaign in support of sustainable growth based on the best of the town’s qualities and historic growth patterns. A design-led Neighbourhood Plan is currently being taken forward and aims to resist substandard proposals whilst constructively defining the town’s future growth and identity. The buy-in is very strong, and crucial, as will be documented.