Places Bases Spaces
Places Bases Spaces is research on the built environment newly published by Urban Forum.
Amongst its main findings are that butchers, greengrocers and other smaller retilers are disappearting from our High Streets, disproportionally affecting older people and low-income families.
The report explores three different themes: community satisfaction with local shops and services; the importance of good design and; engagement in the planning system. The research was carried out alongside a Policy Forum of Urban Forum members which shared the same aims and helped to form the conclusions and recommendations of the report.
The report reveals that the disappearance of local services and shops also has environmental consequences since more people need to routinely travel outside their local area to meet their everyday needs (80% respondents said this) and rely on private cars for travel. Another major issue of concern to communities is derelict buildings and badly maintained parks.
Perhaps the key to reverse both these problems and the decline of the English High Street is to encourage community engagement much earlier in the planning process. The findings of this research show that the most commonly used way to participate in the planning process is to oppose planning applications (85%) while only 45% of respondents had participated in shaping their Local Development Framework (LDF). This shows that participation in planning is focused more on the later stages of the process, when it is too late effectively to influence local plans.