Beauty in my backyard

Thurrock sits on the Thames, on the eastern boundary of London. With three international ports, it is the UK’s port capital and has huge potential for growth.

With £20 billion of planned investment in new jobs, homes and infrastructure, there is no limit to our ambition and determination to make Thurrock a great place to live, work and play.

Local communities have to be at the heart of what we do. It is essential that we take the public with us as we take this agenda forward.

Our ‘Your Place, Your Voice’ community events have been the vehicle for this engagement and, last November, we were awarded government funding to pilot the Prince’s Foundation’s BIMBY (Beauty-In-My-Back-Yard) initiative in Aveley. 

Working with the charity, we asked the local community to help us shape where they live, learn and work. We asked residents where community and workspaces, schools, parks, roads, play areas and homes should be built, and what they should look like. 

We were then able to develop different options and plans for the town, and engage with the community again.  

“It is essential that we take the public with us”

This approach puts the residents and businesses of Aveley at the very heart of designing and shaping the future of their town. It allowed more than 150 residents to tell the council what they wanted to see, and which places needed to be protected.

The coronavirus pandemic slowed our progress, but also provided an opportunity to explore other ways we can engage with our key stakeholders. It is essential that developers, councils and communities commit to collaborative discussions that will shape better-quality schemes that enjoy higher levels of community support.

With £20 billion of planned investment in new jobs, homes and infrastructure, there is no limit to our ambition and determination to make Thurrock a great place to live, work and play.

Local communities have to be at the heart of what we do. It is essential that we take the public with us as we take this agenda forward.

Our ‘Your Place, Your Voice’ community events have been the vehicle for this engagement and, last November, we were awarded government funding to pilot the Prince’s Foundation’s BIMBY (Beauty-In-My-Back-Yard) initiative in Aveley. 

Working with the charity, we asked the local community to help us shape where they live, learn and work. We asked residents where community and workspaces, schools, parks, roads, play areas and homes should be built, and what they should look like. 

We were then able to develop different options and plans for the town, and engage with the community again.  

This approach puts the residents and businesses of Aveley at the very heart of designing and shaping the future of their town. It allowed more than 150 residents to tell the council what they wanted to see, and which places needed to be protected.

The coronavirus pandemic slowed our progress, but also provided an opportunity to explore other ways we can engage with our key stakeholders. It is essential that developers, councils and communities commit to collaborative discussions that will shape better-quality schemes that enjoy higher levels of community support.

BIMBY has been essential in helping us facilitate those conversations and we hope to roll out this initiative across the whole of Thurrock. That way, we can hold developers and the council to the highest level of the design code, helping ensure we build the right homes in the right places to meet the needs of our local communities, now and for the future.

The BIMBY toolkit, from the Prince’s Foundation, is available at www.bimby.org.uk

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