I am working with the London Business Support Service Ltd to develop the business planning for the initiative and am indebted to Peter Landau for continually pushing me to refine the essence of the concept in a tangible form. Here is a work-in-progress re-write of the main points underpinning MasterplanningNow that will help to explain the earlier post.
The initiative is premised on the “power of the plan”- a plan provides leverage. A plan is essential to the empowerment of people and organisations. If the people of an area (eg town, neighbourhood etc) find that market conditions are either causing their patch to be left behind, or they want to control growth or perhaps manage decline, then a good plan is the prerequisite to any meaningful action. Without a plan action is random, vision difficult to convey, and investors hard to convince.
Compared with the costs of any interventions that may be necessary, the cost of preparing a plan is modest and becomes a smart move because of the disproportionate effect it has on controlling outcomes.
The MasterplanningNow team offer several unique advantages in this respect:
- funding and ownership of the plan – the initiative provides a way for the stakeholders (residents, businesses, institutions, landowners, authorities, utilities etc) to come together in a social enterprise in order to commission, purchase, control, and maintain the plan into the future. It will be instrumental in the process of accessing funding for this purpose;
- cutting edge plan making – the initiative will be able to create smart and robust plans, which are better than conventional plans because it has direct access to an ongoing university research programme that aims to provide the next generation of good practice in making plans (masterplanning), incorporating dimensions that are currently little understood.
So it will provide the best possible plan and the means for the local interests to pay for and have ownership of it. This will all be done in collaboration with Local Enterprise Partnerships and Local Authorities and not as an alternative to their efforts and processes. It could easily be fitted into the Localism “clothes” provided by the recent Localism Bill.