Facilitating landscape conversations: giving local people the opportunity to influence what happened to places that are important to them. R4C, with Planning for Real, were commissioned in early summer 2020 to run a city-wide engagement programme for Brighton & Hove Council.
The council own 4,500 hectares of downland surrounding the city, much of which is in the South Downs National Park. The National Park Authority encourage large estate owners to develop Whole Estate Plans, to plan how the natural capital and ecosystems services of the estate is going to be enhanced over a 25-year time period.
The vision and priorities within the plan need to be developed with community and stakeholder input, but Covid-19 restrictions have meant running the process online, including both stakeholder workshops for the Council’s employees and interest groups, as well as ‘consultation Cafes’ for residents and Downland users. Hard work for all involved but ultimately rewarding!
Over 50 stakeholders and 400 residents have been involved in agreeing a vision and drawing up a list of management options to enhance the area.