Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Canterbury Society

A RESIDENTS’ VISION FOR THE FUTURE OF CANTERBURY

This note summarises progress with a new project which aims to develop a Vision for the future of Canterbury based on the views of local residents. 


The Residents’ Vision Project was initiated by the Canterbury Society, but is being undertaken jointly with as many local residents’ associations as possible.  Many local people have said that they feel that new developments in the city seem to be imposed from above and do not reflect the priorities of those who live here.  The aim of the Vision project is to develop a more pro-active, bottom-up Vision for the city, which would reflect the views and hopes of a wide range of local people.  It is also anticipated that it will influence the City Council as it prepares to adopt a new Local Plan by the end of 2012.

The first stage of the project was to organise two all-day workshops. These were run by a London organisation (Glasshouse Community-led Design) with the aim of explaining all the factors to consider when developing a community led vision. At the end of the workshops an interim Steering Group was set up to take the project forward. First ideas for the Vision identified many different topics, but focused on four main themes:

·         Housing, including housing for students and social housing
·         Traffic, transport and pollution
·         Green spaces and the environment
·         A balanced economy and employment

Other topics to consider within the Vision included: culture, education, facilities for young people, governance, heritage, leisure, physical infrastructure, retail, social inclusion, social infrastructure, tourism and the urban environment.

The next stage involved the interim Steering Group producing a questionnaire which was put to the people of Canterbury via a stall in the High Street and a large public meeting (May 22nd). The questionnaire was designed to seek out all the characteristics of Canterbury about which residents were most concerned. At the public meeting a permanent steering committee was also formed to take the Vision to its conclusion. At this stage (mid June 2012) the steering committee is holding its second meeting.

The future timetable for the Vision involves the steering committee finalising the main thematic areas for the Vision, and asking for committee volunteers to select a theme which they will write up. These themes will be reviewed and a draft Vision will be created, which will be sent to selected Residents’ Associations for their comments and eventual approval. By October 2012 a final Vision document should be ready which will be available in hardcopy format, and be on the Canterbury Society website. It will also be in a Power Point format so that it can be shown to groups, to Councillors and perhaps to developers. Once the Vision is complete it should be kept up to date as a guide to informing readers on the residents ideals for their city.
For further information phone Geoff Meaden on: 01227 752275.