Support for FPN

Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

I welcome this briefing from the Faith and Place Network, which highlights the challenges faced by a diverse and growing number of faith communities seeking places for worship. These challenges are particularly acute for migrant faith communities, for whom worshipping in their own tradition both supports community life and affirms identity. We must heed the strong biblical imperative for us to welcome the stranger and to treat them and love them like ourselves. I am pleased that the Faith and Place Network is advocating better understanding across those groups for whom this is a key issue: on the part of local authorities of the practices and needs of faith communities; within faith communities about the planning system; and, crucially, between faith communities. Understanding one another is essential in building the trust and confidence in which these challenges can be addressed.

Extending welcome and hospitality to the stranger is a strong tradition in this country. It is something that we have found enriches communities and benefits our common life. Hospitality is a value embedded in the Christian faith, found in the example of the life of Jesus Christ, and many of our places of worship already extend hospitality to communities from other traditions. This is true of many Church of England parishes and of other faith communities blessed with buildings of their own. Hospitality can lead to the building of friendship and partnership across different contexts and cultures, and this should be our aim – not for our faith communities to remain strangers to each other but to become good neighbours and partners in serving the common good.

I commend the work of the Faith and Place Network to our faith communities and to local planning authorities and encourage them to engage seriously with the Network’s recommendations.

The Most Reverend Barry Morgan, Archbishop of Wales and Bishop of Llandaff
Y Parchedicaf Barry Morgan, Archesgob Cymru ac Esgob Llandaf

Mae gan grwpiau ffydd ran hanfodol i’w chwarae yn eu cymunedau lleol, o ddarparu ‘cyfalaf cymdeithasol’ gyda gwirfoddolwyr, gweithgareddau a chylchoedd ffrindiau, i ddarparu’r unig adeilad cymunedol yn yr ardal weithiau.  Gyda phatrymau byw ac anghenion sy’n newid, mae llawer o gynulleidfaoedd lleol yn ystyried ffyrdd newydd o ddefnyddio eu hadeiladau – neu weithiau, gyda gweledigaeth newydd sbon ar gyfer safle newydd.   Yn aml, gall y syniad o drafod caniatâd cynllunio fod yn un o’r agweddau mwyaf brawychus ar unrhyw brosiect adeiladu, yn arbennig pan fo gan grwpiau ffydd bob math o ffactorau ychwanegol i’w hystyried – o geisio gwneud adeilad hanesyddol yn addas at ddefnydd modern, i sicrhau mynediad cyhoeddus a pharcio ar adegau prysur.   Yn y cyfamser, ar y llaw arall, mae gwir angen i gynllunwyr, penseiri a chynghorwyr eraill fod yn ymwybodol o ddeinameg a photensial grwpiau ffydd i’w hardal.   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.

Faith groups have an essential role to play in their local communities, from providing ‘social capital’ with volunteers, activities, and circles of friendship, to sometimes providing the only community building in the locality.  And with changing needs and patterns of living, many local congregations are exploring new ways to use their buildings – or sometimes, with a whole new vision for new premises.  The prospect of negotiating planning permission can often be one of the most daunting aspects of any building project, especially when faith groups have all sorts of additional points to consider – from trying to make an historic building fit for modern use, to ensuring public access and parking at busy times.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the table, there is a real need for planners, architects and other advisers to be aware of the dynamics and potential of faith groups in their area.  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.

The Minister for Housing and Planning, Brandon Lewis MP, Department for Communities and Local Government

“People of faith have an important role to play in every community across the country. The rich diversity that we have in Britain also means that each and every local area houses people of all faiths and background.

“That’s why I warmly welcome your policy briefing, Faith, Place and Planning: Faith Groups and the Planning System and I am glad that a multi-faith body is thinking about the wider picture for planning in our communities.

“In particular, I endorse Faith and Place Network’s recommendation for more dialogue between local planning authorities and faith groups, so that different needs and ways of using buildings in different faith groups can be understood and planned for; and also the possibility of making helpful case-studies available to local planners.    Local authorities too could do more to encourage members of faith congregations to get involved in planning, whether by contributing when a Local Plan is updated or by engaging in neighbourhood planning.  I am sorry that other commitments prevent my being with you for the launch of this document, but please accept my best wishes for a successful event.”

Kathie Pollard, Policy and Networks advisor, Royal Town Planning Institute

“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.”

(Taken from The Planner, ‘RTPI backs reports to help faith groups engage with planning’, 20/10/15)

Mustafa Field MBE, Director, Faiths Forum for London

The policy briefing is a must read for planners and faith groups. It provides clear
and practical recommendations that will enable planners and faith communities to
navigate more effectively around the planning process for faith buildings.

Dr R David Muir, Co-chair, National Church Leaders’ Forum: A Black Christian Voice

This is a timely and impressive piece of work by the Faith and Place Network.
It will remove some of the mutual suspicion that exists between planners and
faith leaders, allowing them to better understand the constraints and
opportunities inherent in the planning process.