Community Engagement – it’s real, it’s now and it’s happening. Sharing good practice from within our cities, towns and Neighbourhood Areas.


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Community Engagement and Neighbourhood Planning are happening. Despite cynicism around the effectiveness and dissemination of, as well as egagement with,  the Localism Act, communities are doing just that - engaging effectively and siezing the opportunities that Government has handed to them. Just over 18 months on from the passing of the Act we examine in detail those proactive communities who are leading by example, and take a look at some of the first neighbourhood plans, as well as at some community groups' particular brand of 'muscular Localism'. Come along and learn what is being done, how to do it, and meet those groups who are leading the way. The opportunities are there. Take them while you can!

Who should attend?

Local Authority elected members and officers from all disciplines; community leaders and representatives of community groups, civic and amenity societies; professionals concerned with all aspects of planning, conservation, tourism, traffic management, urban design and economic development.

Sunday 19 May


Museum of St Albans,Hatfield Road, St Albans, Hertfordshire, AL1 3RR

19.00Buffet and wine reception 
19.30Welcome from The Mayor, the Right Worshipful the Mayor of the City and District of St Albans, Councillor Eileen Harris. 
19.50Reception continues including view of current exhibitions 

Monday 20 May


The Town Hall, Market Place, St Peters Street, St Albans, AL3 5DJ


09.30Welcome and IntroductionNoël James, HTF Director
09.35Welcome to St Albans – a forward thinking historic cityJames Blake, Chief Executive Officer, St Albans City and District Council, with Cllr Beric Reid, Portfolio Holder for Community Engagement and Localism
10.00The practicalities of grassroots Neighbourhood Planning and Community Engagement – real case studiesDave Chetwyn, Managing Director, Urban Vision Enterprise / Chair, Historic Towns Forum /Planning Advisor, Locality
10.30Look! St Albans – Community Engagement Case StudyVanessa Gregory, Community project manager for Look! St Albans / Member Historic Towns Forum, with Angela Koch, Director, ImaginePlaces, on behalf of the Prince's Foundation
10.50Rounding our Community Engagement and Neighbourhood Planning – bottom up – what does it actually mean for you?Steve Graham, Director, Civic Voice tbc
11.20Q and A 
12.00How to engage communities with the tourism offer – the national perspectiveJason Freezer, Head of Destination Management, VisitEngland
12.20Presentation on St Albans Visitor StrategyCharles Baker, Tourism & Cultural Hub Manager, St Albans City & District Council
12.40St Albans Museums Community Engagement ProgrammeKate Warren, Museums Manager, St Albans Museums, St Albans City and District Council
13.00Cambridge’s approach to Tourism and recently approved Business Improvement DistrictEmma Thornton, Head of Tourism and City Centre Management The Tourist Information Centre Peas Hill Cambridge
13.20Q and A 
15.00Keynote, Neighbourhood Planning 18 months on: the Government / Community interfaceTom Walker, Deputy Director, Decentralisation & Neighbourhood Planning Team, DCLG, tbc
15.30Infrastructure and Public Realm of St Albans – planning within an historic citySimon Rowberry, Interim Head of Planning & Building Control, St Albans City & District Council
16.00Blue badge guided tour of historic St Albans 

Accommodation: if you would like to access accommodation deals please contact Charles Baker, Tourism & Cultural Hub Manager, St Albans City & District Council, Tel: 01727 819275 Email: [email protected]

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Alternatively, if you would prefer to book over the phone, please call 01865 612033 or 07947 521567, 9am - 5pm Monday to Friday.  Methods of payment for telephone bookings - cheque or bacs only.

If you are a student and wish to attend, please contact us on the above number.

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