Faith and Place network leaders, Dr Andrew Rogers and Dr Richard Gale, have recently joined with CAG Consultants and Land Use Consultants to work on a research project with the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. Entitled the Religious Meeting Places Project, the research aims to improve understanding of faith group facilities in the borough, both in terms of current provision and usage, as well as looking at future faith facility needs in the borough. The project will also consider the Council’s policy on engagement with faith groups. The Religious Meeting Places Project is due to report by early summer.
If you would like to know more about participating in this project, please call 07902 310690 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Faith and Place network is delighted to announce the publication of our Wales policy briefing this month. You can download an electronic version in English or Welsh here. Dual language print versions are being sent out to local planning authorities and religious organisations in Wales over the next few weeks. The Archbishop of Wales, Barry Morgan, had this to say about the July 2016 Wales policy briefing:
Bydd y canllaw hwn yn cael ei groesawu’n fawr, a’i werthfawrogi’n arbennig gan grwpiau ffydd nad ydynt yn ddigon ffodus i gael cefnogaeth adrannau eiddo sefydliadol, yn ogystal â chynllunwyr sy’n ceisio cael dealltwriaeth well o’r anghenion a’r posibiliadau o fewn eu cymunedau.
This guide is very welcome, and will be particularly appreciated by faith groups who are not fortunate enough to be backed up by organisational property departments, and by planners seeking a better understanding of the needs and possibilities within their communities.
For the full message from the Archbishop, click here.
Faith and Place network member, Richard Blyth, head of policy and practice at the Royal Town Planning Institute, recently talked to the Public Sector Executive magazine about the Faith and Place network and our policy briefing. As a result the publication contacted FPN network leaders to explain the briefing recommendations further and how these were being followed up. The article was published on the 16th December 2015 – read it here.
The report of the Commission on Religion and Belief in British Public Life, Living with Difference: Community, Diversity and the Common Good, was published on 7th December 2015. One of its key recommendations was as follows:
Much greater religion and belief literacy is needed in every section of society, and at all levels. The potential for misunderstanding, stereotyping and oversimplication based on ignorance is huge. The commission therefore calls on educational and professional bodies to draw up religion and belief literacy programmes and projects, including an annual awards scheme to recognise and celebrate best practice in the media.
This resonates strongly with the Faith and Place network’s policy briefing, especially the first core theme of ‘Understanding One Another’. In it we identify the need for ‘greater understanding and dialogue between local planning authorities and faith groups’, specifically recommendation 1 and 5 as follows:
1. Local planning authorities need to develop greater understanding of how faith groups use space, which includes recognition of the differences between and within faith groups themselves. To facilitate this, specific guidance on how faith groups use space needs to be made available, for example, through supplementary planning documents that reflect the contemporary religious landscape. Generating such guidance may benefit from collaboration with the relevant professional bodies and faith groups.
5. Faith groups also need to have greater understanding of the planning system. This might be facilitated by guides produced by local planning authorities, in collaboration with faith groups and other civil society organisations. These guides should clarify the practicalities of the planning system and also outline how planning policies can be applied to accommodate the needs of faith groups. Such collaboration, as recommended by the RTPI over 30 years ago, should not be a one-way process.
We are now working to see how the network might facilitate greater mutual understanding between faith groups and local planning authorities.
The Faith and Place network policy briefing was featured in the Church Times on 30th October 2015, under the headline ‘Council planners “should embrace faith groups”‘. See the article here.
The Royal Town Planning Institute published its support for the Faith and Place policy briefing on 20th October in The Planner, its official magazine. Kathie Pollard, policy and networks advisor (pictured), said:
“We are very pleased to have been a part of the creation of this paper as it is an incredibly important and timely piece of work which planners and faith communities should engage with.
“It helps planners and decision-makers to make the most well-informed choices to create great places for communities to live, work and play in – including places of worship. We believe that it is a good guide for conversations between faith groups and local authorities on how to use space and to engage in the planning system.”
For the full list of messages of support, see the Support tab.