The Henleaze Society  
Serving the Henleaze community in North Bristol
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Neighbourhood Planning Network



Have you ever questioned a decision by the planners or thought: �If I had known about that earlier I would have done something about it�. Well, you have a chance to do just that.

It`s not widely known, but a Neighbourhood Planning Network was set up in Bristol in 2006 with the aim of facilitating involvement of local communities through resident-led planning groups. Bristol is the first city in the country to introduce the idea which allows resident groups to be involved at an early stage in local developments.

Alison Bromilow, a former architect who helped set up the Bristol Network, outlined the scheme to the recent Henleaze Society AGM. �It is an opportunity for local people to get involved in the planning process before any plans actually get to the committee stage and decisions are made� she says.

The earlier you get in the more chance you have on making an impact� she adds. Since the Network was set up community involvement has been improved to allow community representatives to attend briefings with planning committees and to raise issues and concerns with developers as well as committee members. So how will this work in a community like ours?

Well, as the local community organisation, the Henleaze Society, will be the conduit for local views and planning concerns. They are one of 45 such groups through the city - some of them covering entire wards or Neighbourhood Partnerships, others just a few streets.

Planning sub group

Planning sub group of the Society works closely with the Bristol Neighbourhood Planning Network. The group is keen to work with the local community and act on their concerns. They would also welcome volunteers interested in planning issues who would like to join the Society planning sub group. �There is still a misunderstanding that the Network is a body with a few people who speak for the whole organisation. This is not the case. Each group speaks for its own community� says Mrs Bromilow.

With part funding from the Quartet Foundation the Network is run by a team of volunteers which includes Alison Bromilow. Local groups are encouraged to share their experience and expertise. Although developers are not obliged to liaise with the Network before finalising plans they are likely to get a more sympathetic hearing at the committee stage if they do. The pre-application process is monitored by a small group of volunteers who direct developers to the appropriate Network planning groups to carry out their pre-application community involvement.

It is considered best practice for developers to talk to the local groups. �Local people know about their own locality. Outside developers don`t�, points out Mrs Bromilow.

What sort of issues might we in Henleaze take an interest in? The Network consultaton process - involving prior consultation from developers - kicks in for projects of ten or more house, or a site of 1000 square metres. But the group will also keep an eye on the many smaller developments in the community. The group will ensure that local concerns are considered by the planners.

There is a lot to protect in Henleaze including the thriving independent shops. One potential development which local residents will want to watch out for, and seek a dialogue with any developer, is the site at Quarryleaze where historic limekilns were recently demolished in preparation for redevelopment. An additional key element of the consultations are the longer term development of communities. �It is important to be alert to future needs for things like schools, public transport, changing lifestyles� says Mrs Bromilow. �Local people can get involved and it is important that they do. It is their communities which are at stake and the Neighbourhood Planning Network really does give all of us an opportunity to influence planning decisions�.

The Network is co-ordinated through e bulletins and their website - If you would like to volunteer to join the Henleaze planning group contact Shirley Phillips: Tel: 962 2243




     Alison Bromilow







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