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Students in Neighbourhood Planning

Neighbourhood planning is an additional, optional element of the statutory development plan in England.  Local people are able to influence the development in their areas.

The RTPI and Planning Aid England have been at the forefront, supporting communities and offering advice and guidance.

Why Planning Schools and students should get involved

Demonstate effective teaching.  Chartered Town Planners, and therefore graduates, require strong community engagement and research skills.

Gain real world experience with career benefits.  Volunteering for neighbourhood planning is one way for students to practice these skills and then stand out in the job market.  Conducting and analysing a survey will be an asset on your CV.

Top tips

Students who volunteer for Planning Aid England can help communities or individuals on a range of planning issues.  An extra pair of hands is really helpful to volunteers.

Contact neighbourhood planning groups:

These case studies show a range of approaches.

Use a structured agreement for particular pieces of work:

  • Mapping local businesses, street furniture and green spaces
  • Producing questionnaires for the community consultation on draft plans
  • Facilitating early meetings on helping the community understand neighbourhood planning

Be clear to the local group what can be done:

  • the particular tasks which can and cannot be undertaken by trainee planners;
  • the skills that could contribute to the aims and objectives of the group;
  • what the timescales are for involvement and getting agreement for the output upfront;
  • that assistance should be offered for free;
  • whether the assistance will be used for a university project or public research.

Scope of involvement

It is of course important to note that planning students cannot replace the expertise that an RTPI Chartered Town Planner, or a local planning authority, should be able to provide in terms of formal land-use planning policy writing or other technical elements of a plan.

Further information and finding communities

Contact Planning Aid England or visit the government neighbourhood planning webpage.