Design for Gravesham
The Committee were provided with a presentation on ‘Design for Gravesham’ from the Assistant Director (Strategic Regeneration).
The presentation had been published and could be accessed through the below link:
- (Public Pack)Supplementary - Presentations Agenda Supplement for Strategic Environment Cabinet Committee, 30/03/2022 19:30 (gravesham.gov.uk)
Following the presentation, the Assistant Director (Strategic Regeneration) fielded questions from Members and explained that:
- There were a few different examples of other local authorities ‘‘Design Codes’ and the Assistant Director (Strategic Regeneration) offered to meet with individual Members and go through those different codes with them. The Assistant Director (Strategic Registrations) advised that his background meant he had a good understanding of what was considered an exemplar ‘Design Code’ and he had an appreciation of what was valued in terms of quality and use
- Community engagement is vital and the next steps are set out as part of this presentation. Stakeholders, Residents would be listened to, engaged with and discussions would be had about what they want to see delivered in the Borough which would ultimately feed into the Strategy and broader regeneration agenda.
- The Assistant Director (Strategic Regeneration) advised that there are ambitious plans for community engagement which would start with one to one meetings with groups such as stakeholders, education partners, residents, faith groups and parishes etc. Strategic Regeneration are working in dialogue with the Communities team on this. Those initial conversations would help develop a pathway forward for regeneration in Gravesham and lead the way for a more developed, full rounded approach to regeneration in the Borough in the long term
- Part of the community engagement plan was also for Members to be fully engaged with; the Assistant Director (Strategic Regeneration) offered Ward Members a chance to meet to tour their wards to listen to their views and discuss potential initiatives/regeneration
- The Assistant Director (Strategic Regeneration) shared the regeneration email: email@example.com
- The Assistant Director (Strategic Regeneration) agreed with the Committees view that the river was an important aspect of Gravesham’s heritage and acknowledged that the river went through many parts of the Borough and required further support in wards such as Higham, not just Northfleet and Gravesend
- Regeneration was not without its challenges such as the recovery of the town centre and meeting housing targets, but the Assistant Director (Strategic Regeneration) explained that he was ready to have open discussions with Members regarding the challenges and any proposed solutions
- The code was still in its very early creation and Members comments were only being sought during this meeting; in the future there could be further Member briefings to update on next steps/progress. The community engagement planned will help shape the procurement process to find a suitable external partner to develop Design for Gravesham. Finding a suitable external partner was critical and the procurement process would lead into the evaluation and choosing of a partner, which would then lead to the development of the ‘Design Code’ itself. A consultation process and agreement would be sought from this Committee and Cabinet as part of establishing the code as planning policy.
- The Assistant Director (Strategic Regeneration) wanted the code in place as soon as practically possible, but it was unlikely that it would be in place by the end of 2022; it was essential that there was enough time to engage the Community/Members, procure a suitable partner, develop the code, consult and then seek appropriate approval to adopt the code as planning policy.
The Chair explained that other local authorities around the country had bucked the trend of high street retail losses and lack of regeneration; the Chair was hopeful that the proposed ‘Design Code’ would enable Gravesham to follow best practices and have a community driven regeneration plan in place.
The Chair thanked the Assistant Director (Strategic Regeneration) for an informative presentation.