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Cultural planning guidance provided in new Government online Planning Practice Guidance

Dance FestivalThe Culture in Planning Alliance (CiPA) is delighted that the new online Planning Practice Guidance published on 06 March 2014 and introduced by Nick Boles MP in his written ministerial statement includes new references to guide the development of culture in local plans and plan-making. CiPA is very pleased that many of its recommendations during consultation on the beta version have been included. CiPA includes The Theatres Trust, ixia public art think tank, the National Federation of Artists Studio Providers (NFASP), Arts Development UK, the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), UK Theatre, Voluntary Arts, the Visual Arts and Galleries Association (VAGA), the Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT) and the Little Theatre Guild.

The published Planning Practice Guidance now states:

That ‘catchment areas of facilities providing cultural and social well-being’ should be considered when defining ‘functional economic market areas’. This will help local authorities and developers consider where to locate cultural facilities, and we hope support neighbouring councils in their duty to co-operate with each other.

In relation to identifying sites for development ‘Housing and economic land availability assessment’ guidance now states that when plan makers call for potential sites and broad locations for development, these could include cultural uses. This is important as it means that cultural proposals have equal consideration alongside other uses.

There is a very welcome new section on health and well-being and this identifies that cultural-wellbeing is among the issues to be considered in plan-making and decision-making processes in respect of health and healthcare infrastructure.

The ‘Design’ guidance states, ‘Public art and sculpture can play an important role in making interesting and exciting places that people enjoy using’. This promotes and supports the provision of public art via the planning system and as part of the development of places.

And finally, guidance on the provision of rural housing also now recognises that the provision of cultural venues contributes to a thriving rural community.

Mhora Samuel, the Director of The Theatres Trust said, “Inclusion of culture in the new Planning Practice Guidance marks a real step forward in helping everyone to plan future cultural provision and the Culture in Planning Alliance is delighted to have been instrumental in making this happen.”

The online planning guidance can be found at: http://planningguidance.planningportal.gov.uk/