Projects

Projects

 

The examples which follow set out just a small sample of the types of projects we have been commisioned to undertake, in the areas of:

There are many other types of planning support we have provided to local authorities, parish and town councils and other consultants and we would be happy to discuss with you how we can help you satisfy your project needs through our tailored support.

Neighbourhood Planning

 

We have provided support to over 40 neighbourhood plan groups across the south west.   Support to neighbourhood plan groups can be provided in a number of ways and we tailor our support to suit the skills, capacity, pace and resource availability of individual groups.  The examples below showcase just a few of the ways in which we can support groups with professional advice, guidance and capacity.

 

 

Advice throughout the process, drafting plan content and submission documents

 

We provided support for the South Petherton Parish Council (South Somerset) neighbourhood plan steering group from the start of the process until the submission of the plan.  Support focused on project planning, guidance on the process, evidence gathering and consultation, planning advice on policies and potential development sites and policy and plan drafting.  We also drafted the Submission documents for the Parish Council and advised the Neighbourhood Plan Support Officer employed by the Parish Council for the duration of the plan’s development.  The plan is now “made”.

 

 

  

Advice throughout the process, development of evidence base, plan content and submission documents

 

We provided consultancy support to Dunkeswell Parish Council (East Devon) from the start of their neighbourhood plan journey through to the plan being “made”, providing practical advice and drafting various outputs such as evidence base reports, policies, the plan and other submission documents.  The Dunkeswell Neighbourhood Plan is now “made”.

We provided consultancy support to Stockland Parish Council (East Devon), from the start of the process through to submission, providing practical advice and drafting various outputs such as evidence base reports, policies, the plan and other submission documents.  The Stockland Neighbourhood Plan is now “made”.

 

Advice on policy development

Stonehouse Town Council (Stroud, Gloucestershire) approached us in 2016 to provide short-term support and independent planning advice to help shape their emerging policies for the neighbourhood plan.  The plan is now “made”.

 

“Critical friend” review of emerging plan and the process followed

We were commissioned by Holt Parish Council in Wiltshire in 2015 to provide a “critical friend” review and gaps analysis of their initial draft plan and policies and the evidence base produced to support it.  The Council's plan is now “made”.

 

Advice on process and the review of a technical housing sites appraisal

We were commissioned in 2016 to provide Wedmore Parish Council in Sedgemoor, Somerset, with an independent review of the work they had done on the plan’s development to ensure that there were no gaps in the process followed or outputs they had produced up to that point.  We were also asked to provide an independent critique of their technical assessment of potential development sites to ensure that the process and tests they had undertaken were robust and line with good practice.

 

Evidence base review, advice on assessing housing need and identifying key issues

Ruishton and Thornfalcon Parish Council in Taunton Deane, Somerset, commissioned our support during 2017 and 2018 to review the evidence base material they had gathered, identify any gaps and provide evidence reports to help fill those gaps.  We also provided an opinion on the need or not for a housing needs assessment, set against the context of the Government’s consultation on the revised housing need methodology and the associated proposal for local authorities to provide neighbourhood plan groups with housing need data relevant to their plan area.  Subsequently we were also asked to produce a report identifying and documenting key issues and messages from the evidence base and consultation, which the group has used to inform and evidence the emerging objectives and vision for the plan. 

 

Delivering training sessions for steering groups

We have delivered numerous training sessions for parish / town councils and steering groups.   One example is support provided to the North Tawton Parish Council (West Devon Borough) neighbourhood plan steering group where, as well as guidance on policy and plan drafting, much of the early support focused on attending steering group meetings to advise the group on the process and deliver presentations on how best to work through key stages and outputs demanded of the process and the tasks they would need to undertake to arrive at a robust and sound plan.

 

"Draw down" support

We have provided neighbourhood plan support to many parish and town councils during their neighbourhood plan journey on a “when needed” basis.  This amounts to a providing a combination of desk-based, phone, email and / or face-to-face support, depending on the questions that arise during the process and technical and time-consuming tasks that emerge during the process on which neighbourhood plan groups require professional support and / or capacity.  

 

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Planning for Sport

 

We have provided project based support to local authorities and town councils to advise on and undertake built facilities strategies, playing pitch strategies and site feasibility, examples of which follow.

Swindon Playing Pitch Strategy – 2016-2026

Swindon Borough Council commissioned us in 2016 to provide independent expert advice on how best to develop stages A and B of a Playing Pitch Assessment in order to ensure conformity with Sport England’s Playing Pitch Strategy guidance and to take data and consultation responses gathered during those stages, analyse it and produce an extensive assessment report covering quality, supply and demand, quantity, capacity and future needs / demand.  From this assessment, we developed a Playing Pitch Strategy and interactive and prioritised Action Plan which can track the progress of key actions and deliverables and their impact on remaining capacity need during the strategy period.  During the strategy’s development, we worked closely with the steering group (comprising the Borough Council, NGBs, Swindon Sports Federation, Wiltshire and Swindon Sport (WASP) and Sport England) to provide a succinct strategy written in “plain English”, underpinned by extensive primary data and consultation evidence.  We were subsequently commissioned to provide analysis of data to project the strategy’s identified demand forward to align with the Local Plan period to 2026.

Taunton Deane Playing Pitch Strategy 2016-2028

In autumn 2015 we were commissioned to produce the Taunton Deane Borough Playing Pitch Strategy and Action Plan, produced in line with Sport England’s Playing Pitch Strategy guidance.  We were involved through the duration of the project (through Stages A to E of the guidance methodology), working closely with the Borough Council, NGBs and Sport England to provide a succinct strategy, underpinned by extensive primary data and consultation evidence.  During the project, Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership (SASP) worked with us and the steering group to provide local perspectives on provision “on the ground” as well as an input into the pitch audit process.  During consultation in addition to gathering club data via online questionnaires, we interviewed the largest clubs in the Borough to ensure that we understood the key issues that clubs were experiencing.  As part of the commission, we developed an interactive Action Plan which officers and the wider delivery team can use into the future to measure the impact of actions and interventions on supply, demand, capacity and quality as actions are explored further and delivered.

Bournemouth & Poole Joint Sports Strategy and Action Plans 2014-2026 

We were commissioned in 2013 (with the Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership) to produce a single joint strategy for Bournemouth Borough Council and Borough of Poole (with separate Action Plans) covering built facilities, playing pitches and ‘non-traditional’ sports (including water sports, off-road cycling, parkour, BMX, informal park sports and wheel parks). We explored the ‘on the ground’ issues of importance to clubs, leagues, users of facilities, volunteers, spaces & pitches, the local authority (officers and Members), the education sector, NGBs and Sport England and ensured that Sport England’s required methodology was followed, conducting surveys, face-to-face and telephone interviews and on-site quality audits.   We developed a bespoke approach for assessing the impact of international students on provision and on the raft of ‘non-traditional’ sports and activities based on experience elsewhere and Sport England guidance on pitches and facilities.   The result was a robust strategy and action plans, verified at key stages during its development by NGBs and Sport England, which sets out individual strategy elements for each sport or facility type and which has explored the interactions between different sports across shared facilities, spaces and pitches and across the breadth of different providers - and most importantly what that means for addressing existing and future needs and demands spatially across the two Boroughs.  We were commissioned in 2017 by Active Dorset to update the playing pitch elements of the strategy to provide up-to-date evidence to support the development of the Boroughs’ Local Plans and to ensure conformity with the requirements of the new Playing Pitch Strategy guidance, published since the joint strategy was produced.

Feasibility Study

In 2018 we were commissioned by Wellington Town Council and partners (Taunton Deane Borough Council, Wellington AFC, Wellington RFC and Wellington CC) to explore options to establish a new football club “hub” site which can accommodate the club’s needs now and in the future and in turn also enable both the cricket and rugby clubs to then consolidate and grow on their existing home grounds.  The study focused on initial feasibility work to assess the planning merits, constraints and opportunities of three sites, potential layouts of pitches and facilities, estimated capital and revenue costs and opportunities for funding.

 

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Funding Bids and Regeneration

 

We can provide support to develop packages of environmental enhancements and regeneration projects, translating them into robust business plans to underpin funding bids.

Burnham Evolution, 2018-23

In 2018, we were commissioned by Burnham-on-Sea & Highbridge Town Council to work with town councillors and a cross-section of community and business interest groups in Burnham-on-Sea to produce an evidenced Business Plan, shaped by local consultation, to support bids for substantial amounts of funding aimed at economic and sea-front regeneration projects.  

 

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Lecturing & Seminars

 

We can deliver teaching, guidance and advice through student lectures, conferences, workshops and seminars, across a wide range of planning topics tailored to specific audiences.

University of Hertfordshire

Since 2013, each year we have been invited by the University of Hertfordshire to present a day of lectures to postgraduate students covering a wide range of topics such as the history of and current planning system, planning law and policy, governance structures, effective consultation and methods of engagement, what is “good planning”, the challenges of delivery, components of well-designed places, planning for active lifestyles and development economics.  The lecture is provided as part of a 3 day postgraduate and CPD module on “Place Making and Spatial Mediation”.  

Presentations to neighbourhood plan seminars

We have twice been invited by the Community Council for Somerset and the Somerset Association for Local Councils to present independent planning advice to a series of neighbourhood plan seminars aimed at informing parish and town councils about the neighbourhood plan process and also about the relationship between neighbourhood plans and the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).  We have also delivered a presentation on the neighbourhood plan process to a neighbourhood plan seminar hosted by East Devon Borough Council.

 

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What our clients say about us ...

“…easy to work with, knowledgeable and thorough…”

“Stuart worked with Somerset Activity and Sports Partnership (SASP) to develop our Sports Facility and Playing Pitch Strategies for Bournemouth & Poole.  Stuart’s easy to work with, knowledgeable and thorough in everything he does, what Stuart said he said he’d do was done on time and to an excellent standard; he offers a bespoke service that we don’t often see in consultants, something that comes from listening, background research and attention to detail.  I’d certainly use Stuart again, whether that’s for sports related strategies or other open space plans and strategies work tying into our local planning processes.”

Michael Rowlands, Parks Development Manager, Bournemouth Borough Council

“…an outstanding choice to work with on our neighbourhood plan…”

"Stuart Todd Associates were an outstanding choice to work with on our neighbourhood plan; friendly, reliable and professional support was always there when it was most needed.  The attention to detail, intuitive understanding of communities and delivery to deadlines has been outstanding.”

Tracey Bell, Clerk, Dunkeswell Parish Council

“…high degree of technical knowledge and expertise…”

“Stuart Todd is my kind of planner - someone who sees the people that use the buildings and the land; and recognises that it’s all about enabling them to live and work happily and harmoniously with their surroundings. Stuart has a high degree of technical knowledge and expertise. He has proven adept at applying it and sharing it in a way that enables his client group to engage meaningfully with the planning process.”

Paul Weston, Community Consultant

“…an extraordinary ability to give that so important little extra…”

“Stuart Todd came to South Petherton to help the Parish Council navigate the tricky waters of neighbourhood planning.   It gives me great pleasure on behalf of the Steering Group and Parish Council to thank Stuart for his huge effort, professional commitment and knowledge, infinite patience and an extraordinary ability to give that so important little extra. It was a great pleasure to work with Stuart.”

Councillor Graham Gatehouse, South Petherton Parish Council (and Chair of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group)

“…always delivers on time and to a very high quality…”

We engaged Stuart following a competitive tender process to undertake the delivery of our Playing Pitch Strategy, and have worked with him previously on other Local Plan evidence base work. The scope of the work we needed was data analysis, strategy writing and action plan formulation, as well as an in depth knowledge of the Sport England methodology and a practical knowledge of its application.  Stuart is extremely meticulous and his knowledge and understanding of this area is very in-depth. His engagement with us as his client has been excellent, providing valuable and honest advice, and his work is always delivered on time and to a very high quality.  I would gladly recommend him.”

Amy Colbran, Policy Planner, Swindon Borough Council

“…an enviable eye to detail and quality of client service…”

“Stuart undertakes, completes and presents work within deadline with an enviable eye to detail and quality of client service. He is a genuine pleasure to work in partnership with. Stuart has a sociable soul with a very well-established and broad network of professional contacts to match.”

Martin Lee, Chartered Town & Country Planning Consultant, Martin Lee Associates

“…highly valued part of the team…”

“Stuart Todd has taught on our MSc in Sustainable Planning for a number of years and is highly regarded by our students. He provides expert insight into place making policy, governance and stakeholder engagement. He’s a highly valued part of the team.”

Dr Richard Southern FRGS, Dean of the School of Life and Medical Sciences, University of Hertfordshire

"...immensely satisfied with the high quality service..."

“We have been immensely satisfied with the high quality service provided by Stuart. He worked with us to develop an extremely important Business Plan which has underpinned our applications for funding to provide significant enhancements to our community. He worked to tight deadlines and presented confidently to our Project Team meetings. Stuart produced an impressively professional document at a very reasonable cost. He was very easy to work with and was consistently friendly and efficient. I wouldn’t hesitate to use his services again.”

Tatiana Cant, Town Clerk, Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge Town Council