Agenda item

The Placemaking Charter Wales


The Corporate Director – Communities submitted a report, the purpose of which, was to seek Council’s approval that Bridgend County Borough Council endorses and becomes a signatory to the Placemaking Charter Wales. 


By way of background information, the Group Manager, Planning and Development Services, advised that Placemaking is a proactive and collaborative process of creating and managing places. Although the Local Planning Authority may be considered as the main proponent, the placemaking agenda goes effectively beyond the Planning and related functions of the Council which has cross-disciplinary connections to multiple service areas across local government and its related partners in order to contribute to the effective creation and management of places.


The Placemaking Wales Charter, launched in September 2020, has been

developed by Welsh Government and the Design Commission for Wales in

collaboration with the Placemaking Wales Partnership. This consists of

stakeholders representing a wide range of interests and organisations working within the built and natural environment. The Charter is intended to reflect the collective and individual commitment of these organisations to support the development of high-quality places across Wales for the benefit of communities.


He continued by confirming that, signatories to the Placemaking Wales Charter agree to promote the following principles in the planning, design and management of new and existing places:-


  • People and community;
  • Location;
  • Movement;
  • Mix of uses;
  • Public Realm, and;
  • Identity


A descriptor in terms of expanding upon each of these, was detailed in the Officer’s report.


The Group Manager, Planning and Development Services continued by stating, that in terms of its function, as a signatory to the Placemaking Charter the Council would pledge to:


·         Involve the local community in the development of proposals;


·         Choose sustainable locations for new development;


·         Prioritise walking, cycling and public transport;


·         Create inclusive, well defined, safe and welcoming streets and public spaces;


·         Promote a sustainable mix of uses to make places vibrant;


·         Value and respect the positive distinctive qualities and identity of existing places.


He added that the Welsh Government’s ‘Future Wales 2040’ document provides the National Development Plan and contains a specific policy requiring the public sector to show leadership and apply placemaking principles to support growth and regeneration for the benefit of communities. It states under Policy 2: “The public sector must lead by example and apply placemaking principles to create exemplar developments. In particular, (it) must prioritise design quality, innovation and sustainability.”


The Group Manager, Planning and Development Services, stated that Placemaking is now recognised as a function of the Planning and Development Services Group in the Communities Directorate Business Plan 2021/22. Both the Development Control Committee and the Planning Service are best placed to act as the Council’s placemaking champions to ensure new development complies with the principles set out in the Charter. There is aspiration to set up a ‘Placemaking Unit’ within the team drawing from existing expertise as well as taking on additional resource and suitable training in order to provide the necessary placemaking input into new schemes. This would include the Council’s own projects as well as any future public sector partner and private sector development.


In practical terms this could involve, amongst other things, the requirement for developers to have a Placemaking expert on board at pre-application stage and developing a suite of up to date Supplementary Planning Guidance documents. This will enable Bridgend to become an exemplar Authority in terms of



He concluded the report, by advising that becoming a signatory to the Placemaking Charter therefore provides an opportunity for the Council to confirm its commitment to delivering quality places and recognising the key role that this plays in enhancing the health and wellbeing of its communities and residents for the long-term future. This will require a ‘one Council’ approach and agreement which has already been endorsed in principle by the Development Control Committee.


The Cabinet Member – Communities confirmed that the Placemaking Charter would fit in appropriately with a number of the Council’s plans and strategies, particularly such as those that relate to economy and in particular, the Local Development Plan with which it had a direct correlation. The Charter would also support positive initiatives such Active Travel and healthier lifestyles.


A Member supported the Charter and hoped that it would resolve issues such as when new developments are being constructed and completed without essential requirements being included, for example footpaths linking other areas of the overall community, local shops and children’s play areas etc. She emphasised that these should be part of new developments in the initial constructions works.


The Group Manager, Planning and Development Services confirmed that the Charter’s principles would help ensure that examples such as the above would apply in future for new developments, together with the fact that the Charter would be supported by Master Plans and legal agreements, etc, to reinforce this.


A Member stated that she hoped that the Placemaking Charter would also apply to Town and Community Councils.


The Group Manager, Planning and Development Services confirmed that Town and Community Councils could sign up to the Charter, together with other public sector organisations and residents from the Development industry.


RESOLVED:                                 That Council approved that Bridgend County Borough Council endorses and becomes a signatory to the Placemaking Charter Wales.


Supporting documents: