The past twenty years has seen UK Government aspiring to put greater power in the hands of local people. In England, the 2011 Localism Act and 2012 National Planning Policy Framework have created new opportunities for local people to influence development. The Welsh Government has taken its own stance: the Planning Act 2015 (Wales); the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013 commit local authorities to improving social, economic, cultural and environmental well-being. Alongside these top-down processes, there is an emerging strategy to further engage local people in influencing the quality of their places and the well-being of their communities. A critical review of two tools designed to facilitate the Place Planning process in Wales is presented. Both tools help to increase opportunities for local people to have a voice in the planning process, and for the people who know places best to influence their well-being. However, questions are raised about the capacity and aspirations of communities to help deliver Place Plans, and assess the pressures on overburdened, under-resourced local authorities. Importantly, the increasing role of community-led initiatives has consequences for the role of designers and the skills they can contribute to place-making and well-being.
Jones, M., & Spence, A. (2017). Empowering local people through the planning process: The emerging practice of ‘Place Planning’ and its contribution to community well-being in Wales. In L. Brotas, S. Roaf, & F. Nicol (Eds.), Design to Thrive (4493-4500). Edinburgh, UK: Network for Comfort and Energy Use in Buildings