Headlines: November 13th, 2003

Two draft guides explaining how changes to the planning system will benefit local communities have been launched by the government, which is inviting comments on them from local councils and other bodies. From next summer authorities will have to draw up Local Development Frameworks for the future of their areas and the guides are designed to explain how this can be done.In a separate development the government has also produced a good practice guide on ways of making Britain’s play areas more accessible for disabled children.

The planning documents – ‘Guide to Procedures’ and ‘Creating Local Development Frameworks’ were unveiled at the LGA planning conference by Planning Minister Keith Hill. The first explains how the new development planning system will work and how people can be involved in it. The second has been prepared by Arups and has been written to advise local authorities and others involved on how to prepare the frameworks. It is designed to succeed ‘Making Plans’ and is aimed at local authority planners, other officers within authorities and partner organisations and community groups and stakeholders.

Copies of both documents are available from ODPM Free Literature, PO Box 236, Wetherby, West Yorkshire LS23 7NB or by e-mail from odpm@twoten.press.net   mailto:odpm@twoten.press.net  The guides will also be available on the ODPM website http://www.odpm.gov.uk/.

The guide on ways of making play spaces more suitable for children with disabilities targets a wide range of people from planners to play space providers and draws on case studies from across the country to show what can be done. Most importantly, say the guide’s authors, it explains that the best way to plan a play space is to find out what both disabled and non-disabled children want.

Production of the document follows the report ‘Living Places: Cleaner, Safer, Greener’, in which the Urban Green Spaces Taskforce, highlighted the need for guidance.