‘“We are talking too much about this bit of land and that bit of land,” what drafters of Local Plans can Learn from D&D

Leaders Forum Warrington

Cllr Bowden (LAB – Birchwood) was pressed on the issue during this week’s leader’s forum.

Speaking in relation to the information sent out in the ‘last couple of years’, he says the council has ‘missed an opportunity’ as it has failed to properly ‘talk about’ what kind of homes people in Warrington will need.

He also insists it is ‘really important’ to recognise existing communities and their voices, while labelling the draft as a ‘highly technical document’.

Furthermore, Cllr Bowden highlighted the importance of improving health services, public transport and community facilities over the next two decades.

“We are talking too much about this bit of land and that bit of land,” he added.

“We didn’t provide enough information – this is another example of me saying the council doesn’t always get it right.

“Now, what I’m trying to do is slowly wind some of that stuff back.”

Of course planners will always get it in the neck after consultation on an inevitably complicated issue such as Green Belt.  However planners dont always make it easy to wade through the technical, with cross references to Green Belt Review documents, SHLAAs etc. which dont always add up.  Part of the reason being the point long made by Future Cities Catapult that local plans and policy maps arnt digital documents that are seamlessly linked together, enabling for example modelling different scenarios of the 5YHLS simply and easily without having to recreate everything from scratch in a spreadsheet.

Indeed many local plans now remind me of the suite of AD&D rulebooks where mastery of the game depended on which book you owned rather than the narrative you took part in.

Its producers learnt, simplifying the rules and introducing a young adventurers handbook.

Are these Basic RPG rule books for young readers?

No. These books do not replace the D&D Player’s Handbook. They’re rules-free illustrated guides to the core concepts of D&D, built so the reader can discover the lore without being overwhelmed by the rules.

Many local plans string together technical issues without setting down the narrative of hard choices that the plan has gone through in simple clear English that is understandable to a non planner.  Even planners struggle with the lack of structure of many plans, them not being ‘designed documents’ and only written in word for example and not integrating text and graphics in a way a modern reader expects.   I havn’t seen a local plan in the last two years that couldn’t be edited down to half its length.  So there might be a lot to learn surrounding the presentation of policy isues concerning Beholders Green Belt Review


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