Image by Simon Fowler Photography

Cultural Planning Toolkit now live

19 May 2023

Click here to explore the Cultural Planning Toolkit

Creative Estuary’s Cultural Co-location project has been testing and demonstrating new practice in the role of culture in planning and placemaking, through co-locating cultural facilities within planned civic infrastructure in different development scenarios, for example in Ebbsfleet. By ‘co-location’, we mean exploring opportunities to integrate cultural facilities and other uses into civic buildings and outdoor spaces; facilitating places for creative activity. Our partners Ebbsfleet Development Corporation recently launched their Cultural Infrastructure Prospectus which invites cultural organisations, creative industries, artists and freelancers to develop and grow in the garden city. 

 In partnership with Kent County Council, Creative Estuary commissioned a toolkit for cultural planning. This is designed to be of use for new developments and in regeneration schemes, enabling development that will deliver cultural infrastructure and as an advocacy tool to influence national planning guidance and policy. 

Developing cultural infrastructure requires a steady focused effort across long periods of time. The Cultural Planning Toolkit has been designed to help users navigate the deliverability of cultural infrastructure, and: 

  • Offer a road map to fund, occupy and manage buildings, housing and cultural facilities across both short term (meanwhile) and long-term time horizons. 
  • Enable local authorities, development corporations, developers and cultural organisations to take a different approach to assessing the financial feasibility of a particular site or location of development, and the process of engaging and co-designing with the local community. 
  • Provide a tool to navigate through the developer contributions process within local planning authorities. 

The users and audience for the are all of those who are proposing and enabling the inclusion of the cultural and creative industries sector in regeneration schemes and built environment projects: local planning authorities, town planners, developers, property and asset managers, agents, landowners, and the creative sector. It will also be of value to investors, whether public, private, community ownership or joint ventures. 

 The toolkit sits alongside the research report, Creative Places Create Value, which we co-commissioned with our partners at the Creative Land Trust, and which articulated how the presence of creative industries within communities has not only a social value but a wider economic value too.  

 The Cultural Planning Toolkit provides elements of guidance and information such as on governance, access to land and investment, co-location, community engagement and co-design. It includes content which is focused on the planning policy process and signposts examples of best practice within existing planning policies and strategies at a local level. Finally, it includes a suite of model policies which can be extracted and used as the basis for local policy and plan making. These draw on relevant policy wording that has already been tested through the planning system, and which can be tailored for local circumstances.