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On Thursday 16th Leeds Planning School’s masterclass on 16 November addressed the dilemmas for planners in making local character, heritage and sense of place central to their policies. The three speakers provided lots inspiration and ideas on heritage, design and articulating public concern to an audience of over 30 neighbourhood planning group members and built environment professionals.

The issue of public concern is central to neighbourhood planning, and Neil Stanley, from the University of Leeds Law School, stressed the importance of perceptions and feelings in mobilising public support for plans. Craig Broadwith from Historic England outlined the actions neighbourhood plans can take to protect and enhance heritage assets and plan for conservation. He pointed to the importance of considering the management of conservation areas, listed buildings and scheduled monuments. The task for neighbourhood plans is more than listing sites; it’s about having a clear vision for the historic landscape that makes it central to the sustainable development of the neighbourhood.

Jenny Fisher, principle design officer for Leeds City Council, provided a wealth of examples of excellent design and its role in maintaining a sense of place and community. She identified the potential for plans to address the design of specific sites and identify character areas as well as having an overall vision of the look and feel of neighbourhoods. Good design is not just about how places look but can transform the way we live, by reducing traffic and pollution and making neighbourhoods safer and greener.

All the slides are available to download at the following link along with a storify of some of the images / tweets from the session. Please note, this is the last master class of 2017, however we will be returning with some more sessions in the new year. If you are looking to get involved in Leeds Planning School and our events going forward, please contact us via