A chance to shape the future of our city
THE fate of Plymouth City Airport will be decided over the next two years as part of the pioneering Plymouth Plan.
The plan, which will guide almost every aspect of city life up to 2031, will be written with the help of local people.
And one of the key decisions to be made is the controversial issue of whether to keep the land at Roborough as an airport.
The plan will look not only at where development can take place, but also at education, jobs, the Greening of Plymouth, transport, the arts and even people's health.
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In a break with tradition, the plan will be drawn up after a series of "conversations" with local people and organisations.
The city council will use the full range of modern social media to let people have their say, and the process will end with a Plymouth Plan "convention" next summer.
The plan will be finalised in the summer of 2014 before a public examination by a government inspector.
Once adopted by the city council in 2015, it will become the blueprint used to guide city development all the way through to 2031.
Cabinet member Cllr Brian Vincent said: "This is so big it wouldn't work just with councillors. We have to work with the public. This plan will be about people and place. It aims to address the quality of life issues that are seen across the city and provide a joined-up approach to tackle them. Where are the jobs going to come from? That is one of the most fundamental questions."
He said the concept of working with the community had been proven in Efford, where the Torridge Way regeneration had turned the community around from being a city trouble-spot.
Plymouth's development has been guided since 2006 by the council's "core strategy", which was built on the 2003 Mackay Vision. Paul Barnard, the council's assistant director of development, said the core strategy reflected the cross-party and cross-sector view that Plymouth could achieve more. It took Plymouth's development up to 2021. He said: "If we had taken the Mackay Vision and not put it into the statutory framework it would have remained just that – a vision."
Mr Barnard said the new approach was a combination of the Government's localism agenda and the Labour-led city administration's "Co-operative Council" approach.
"There are lots of examples where cities have got these great architects to come in and their grand plans have gone nowhere because they alienated the councils and the people."
He said the Mackay Vision for Plymouth had been "completely aspirational".
"We have to guard against people being unaspirational because of the recession."
"This new plan is not just about buildings – it is also about people.
"I have always found that local people are incredibly knowledgeable about their local community."
But he warned that the public would not get to see their pet ideas turned into reality with a snap of the fingers. "The experts will be called on to analyse the ideas put forward.
"It has to be evidence-based," Mr Barnard said.
Mr Vincent said: "We need to make sure that we don't build the slums of the future. Pre-war Plymouth was infested with slums because there was no green space."
The city Cabinet, which meets next Tuesday, is being asked to approve the ground-breaking approach.
DEBATE: the facts
Big green question marks will be an invitation to the public to comment on the Plymouth Plan.
The city council will put the question marks on key places in the city where it wants to generate debate.
Where the question marks contain a QR code – the chequered square shown here – people with smart phones will be able to link straight to the debate online.
The QR codes are just one of the ways the council will use the full range of social media to generate ideas.
“This time we are doing it differently. It’s turned on its head. We are not producing a draft and asking people to come along and talk about that on our terms,” said Paul Barnard, the city’s chief planner.
“It’s a much more dynamic and real-time planning.”
Public conversations will take place using social media, public debates as well as capitalising on existing events, projects and networks in the city.
It will culminate in a convention over a number of weeks featuring events, exhibitions and films, all with the aim of getting everyone talking and getting involved. Fringe events are also on the cards which promise a more creative approach to get people talking.
Find out more at www.plymouth.gov.uk/plymouthplan or comment on Twitter, @plymouthplan