Rural Action Research Programme funded by Carnegie Trust UK

Between 2006 and 2008 PLANED led a Participative Community Planning project partnership, funded by the Carnegie Trust and working closely with Ballyhoura Development and their respective County Councils in Wales and Ireland. A range of other organisations helped to inform the process.

It involved the New Economics Foundation as a specialist adviser and provided an English perspective. An EU partner, the Paijat Hame region of Finland, provided a model of the participatory village movement.

The overall aim of the project was to demonstrate the value and effectiveness of a seamless, complimentary process of community led action planning. The aim was not only to forge a more meaningful partnership with county plans, but to also contribute to national strategies such as the Wales Spatial Plan and equivalent strategies in Eire.

The final aspect was to inform the running debate about how (and whether) to build on and strengthen existing planning processes and/or develop new ways of ensuring citizen participation in community planning from the `bottom up”.

Conclusion:

It seems that there are various levels of engagement:

  1. Good engagement practice despite the system
  2. Adaptation of system to encompass engagement
  3. System designed to encourage and facilitate community engagement.

The RARP Project project helped to influence PLANED’s future policy and its Axis 4 projects; Ballyhoura refined and developed its ADOPT process. Finland shared good practice and gathered ideas on Sustainability Tool activities. The whole project helped to inform the work of the New Economics Foundation.

The full report is available here – Rural Action Research Project Report