Powys 20 Minute Communities
The concept of a ’20-minute neighbourhood’ (also known by different titles including ’15 Minute Cities’) has gathered traction around the world, especially in recent years since the COVID-19 pandemic put a spotlight on the importance of the “liveability” of where we live and the need for locally accessible facilities and services. This feasibility study explored the potential opportunities and benefits of adopting this originally urban concept to deliver local benefits to our rural communities in Powys.
Three communities came forward to take part in the project, representing three different types of communities in Powys. They were Cemmaes and Cwm Llinau, Llanfyllin, and Llandrindod Wells.The consultation was tailored to each community and led by a local group of volunteers or representatives from a local organisation. This meant that local communities had ownership of the work and residents were being approached by trusted local partners.
These local community consultations were reinforced by a GIS mapping exercise of local facilities and services, interviews with key individuals in local authorities, and further desk research. Workshops were held with the community stakeholders to validate the findings and to collaboratively agree on the potential application of the concept in each community and other areas of the county. All this work was framed in the context of local, regional, and national priorities and strategies for the final study report, which also incorporated learning and lessons from other case studies worldwide.
The study concluded that as long as the definition of a 20-minute community is flexible and that a bespoke plan is developed for each community, many of the larger and mid-sized communities in Powys could potentially benefit, while smaller communities could benefit from specific elements. Investment in infrastructure and behaviour change would be key, so it would be vital to get the relevant authorities and public sector bodies on board to ensure that decision makers and budget holders were part of the process from the beginning. But most vital would be the engagement and support of the local residents themselves.
This feasibility study was commissioned by PAVO (as part of a wider Localities Initiative) and the Powys Action on the Climate Emergency group (PACE). It was funded through the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund.