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In 2011, the Feria Urbanism team of Richard, Isabelle and Adele acted on behalf of the Kent Joint Parishes Group (JPG), a grouping of twelve parish councils around Maidstone in Kent. We drafted a joint response to Maidstone Borough Council’s strategic plan and began the process of developing new neighbourhood plans for each parish.

Kent Joint Parishes Group

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While the original objective of this exercise was to prepare a joint response to the MBC draft Core Strategy, it quickly became seen by the Kent JPG as an opportunity for more than that. It was agreed that the response should focus on the 14 policies contained within the Kent JPG but also expand on the wider issues that affect each parish and present ways in which the parishes can play a more active part in the planning and design of their own communities.

 

The work was considered a successful example of collaborative working between parishes and the final report was described as being “… a superb representation of the area and will surely go down in history as the first document to fully comprehend how Kentish rural settlements work in the early 21st Century.”

 

Our work also featured as a case study in the RIBA Guide to Localism. The guide introduces the changes to the planning system and outlines how this will affect architects, highlighting how architects can use their design skills to get involved in the development of neighbourhood plans. This project was used as the cover photo.

 

The Feria Urbanism team has subsequently supported neighbourhood planning projects in a series of Kent towns and villages including Hawkhurst, Harrietsham, Staplehurst, Loose and Faversham. The team has also worked with the Knowle West neighbourhood plan forum on the edge of Bristol city centre and in Southampton city centre. If you wish to know more about these other neighbourhood plan projects, please get in touch.

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