HRH The Prince of Wales on the 22 February saw first-hand the results of an innovative online tool that supports communities to influence the quality of new development. The BIMBY online toolkit reflects The Prince of Wales's longstanding belief that people need to play a key part in the planning of their community.
Speaking to guests and members of the local community gathered at St Mary's Works in Norwich His Royal Highness said:
“The key, if I may say so, is how you enhance social, environmental, and of course commercial value in the end of the day. So I hope this BIMBY process will be of some value to different communities around this country, and I hope very much to see the end results.”
Local residents in Norwich are the first community group to fully try out the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community’s new ‘BIMBY’ Housing Toolkit www.bimby.org.uk to say what they would see as ‘Beauty In My Back Yard’. Other groups across the country are also evaluating the relevance of the toolkit, and were present on the day, including Cambridge.
Ben Bolgar, Senior Director at The Princes Foundation for Building Community, said:
“BIMBY is all about supporting people to create beautiful and resilient communities that improve the quality of life of everyone involved. This is a central value of the Foundation so seeing it in action in Norwich is very exciting.”
“BIMBY will have a big impact on planning in this country because it helps empower people on the ground to get involved positively in the planning process.”
Dominic Richards, Chief Executive of the architect-developer behind the St. Mary’s Works regeneration, said:
"We were delighted to welcome the Prince’s Foundation to assist on the community consultation for St. Mary’s Works and are extremely grateful to Samantha Coe, Director of The Wharf Academy in neighbouring St Martin-at-Oak, for taking on the leading role. There is a rich seam of knowledge in any local community which can only improve the outcome of development”.
Responding to the five essential qualities of Norwich defined by the community consultation – variety of scale, traditional connections, industrial heritage, ‘a walkable place’ and the River Wensum – Dominic Richards, commented:
“One of the reasons we were attracted to this site was its great industrial heritage and we agree that St. Mary’s Works, although not a nationally listed building, is an important architectural asset, which we will seek to preserve and renew. We understand the importance of reconnecting our site via walkways and traditional road patterns, such as lanes between the two churches, and to the River Wensum, which have been lost through previous developments. The thing we love about Norwich is its rich eclectic mix of architecture and we agree with the community this is a key characteristic of Norwich which we will respect in our regeneration plans.”
The new resource, available online for all at www.bimby.org.uk, guides people through three workshops. The end result is a BIMBY Housing Manual that presents their communal vision for good quality local housing and helps engage developers and planners as all work towards meeting current housing targets.