This is about identifying a starting point for a town project, based on existing data and local feedback. An assessment of key issues can be used as a step towards agreeing headline objectives for a regeneration or climate action programme, and as a benchmark for measuring progress.
One useful technique is a SWOT analysis – looking at the internal Strengths and Weaknesses of a place, and the external Opportunities and Threats it faces.
Some early views of the Strengths and Weaknesses of Lydney, a town of some 10,000 population in the forest of Dean, and the Opportunities and Threats the town faces, were gathered at an informal workshop with town councillors in February 2020. Some of the highlights were:
- Bathurst Park, recreation areas
- Bus & train stations
- Existing firms / high street
- Road network / excess traffic
- Poor evening experience
- No town identity / centre
- Lydney Harbour project
- Possibility for more employment
- New houses / people moving in
- Potential loss of hospital
- Climate change – flooding!
- Lack of joined-up planning
More information about the regeneration project for Lydney can be found on the website Lydney Forward.
A more detailed approach may be helpful when looking at climate action, particularly when working in England as a town or parish council towards a local neighbourhood plan:
- A carbon audit of current council buildings and operations – and data for the council area
- An audit of the potential for local renewable energy
- A biodiversity audit, including a survey of mature trees and sites for community gardens
- An audit of the potential for improved food and water supply, linked to local geography
- An economic audit of current business and employment, and people’s prospects for the future
- A linked transport audit, including public transport and private electric car recharging
The Centre for Sustainable Energy has produced guidance on neighbourhood planning in a climate emergency.