Planning Aid

                                                              

Planning Aid

Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI)
Solution proposed by: 
The Royal Town Planning Institute
In a Nutshell: 
Planning Aid offers free planning advice and support to individuals and communities. We believe everyone should have the opportunity to get involved in planning their local area and provide people with the tools and knowledge to achieve this. Our work is supported by over 500 volunteers.
Where and When: 
Planning aid activity started in 1973, and now Planning Aid England works throughout England and separate charities exist to deliver services in Scotland, Wales and London.
Challenges: 
What is planning? How does the planning system work? What does all that planning jargon mean? These are the questions often asked by the public and the RTPI understands that the planning system can be confusing at times. The RTPI has an enviable track record of producing resources and guides to explain the planning system in a way that people can understand.
Innovation: 
.Planning Aid is unique in its activity. There is no other organization that offers this level of support for communities in the UK in understanding the planning system. It is accessible and innovative due the variety of services it offers. It provides free planning advice and guidance through a website and advice line, bespoke support for eligible individuals and communities, outreach and capacity building, neighbourhood planning, online resources and guides. It is volunteer-driven and offers advice to a huge variety of individuals and groups.
Concept: 
Planning Aid is built on the principle that everyone should have access to the planning system regardless of their ability to pay and be engaged in planning decisions in their area, encouraging better place-making and stronger local democracy.
Description: 
Planning Aid offers free, independent and professional advice on planning issues, and empower local communities to engage with the planning process and influence decisions that affect their local area. An advice line is run by over 500 volunteers who are planners with wide ranging backgrounds and experiences. Briefing notes and guides break down complicated planning issues into reader-friendly documents. Neighbourhood planning case studies – neighbourhood planning groups explain how they tackled various aspects of the plan process for example, reviewing the neighbourhood plan, tackling regeneration issues or forming a steering group Forum for neighbourhood planning – we maintain the Forum for Neighbourhood Planning website which has news, events, resources and discussion forums for all those involved in neighbourhood planning, and a free, bi-monthly e-bulletin, Up Front. Resources for neighbourhood planning: putting the pieces together – we have recently published a comprehensive suite of resources for community groups to use. These explain all aspects of the planning process from project planning to submitting the plan for examination. Frontrunner neighbourhood planning case studies – explain the difference our support has made.
Impacts: 
Planning Aid provides information on all aspects of the planning system including national policy, plan making, the planning application process, enforcement and appeals. Over 1,300 visits are made to the Planning Aid Direct web resource every month. The advice line receives over 200 calls a month and over 270 groups have been assisted in developing neighbourhood plans, a tool allowing communities to form part of the development plan for the area.