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Building Sustainable Communities Action Research Devon Cornwall

Devon and Cornwall – Plymouth

Action-research group:

Pat Frean, Plymouth High School for Girls
Jim Rogers, Callington Community School, Cornwall
Fiona Osmaston, Tamarside Community College, Plymouth
Tanya Griffiths, Devon and Cornwall Architecture Centre
Barry Pearce, Planning Aid, South West
Hannah Dempsey, Plymouth City Council

Initial ideas

Pat – waterfront housing and commercial development
Jim – issues and options in a small town
Fiona – locational choices in making sustainable communities


‘Options and priorities’

Jim opens an enquiry on the development options for Callington in the Caradon District of Cornwall.

How do we balance the detail of meaningful scenarios with accessible decision-making?

Provisional Activity Sheet

Statements for Sorting

Egan Wheel (Eight Components)


Jim outlines the scope of the pupils’ responses to this sequence of learning and plans for the future. He reports achievement at higher levels and a significant impact on take-up at GCSE.

Report: Our Global Future – Redesigning Callington (added Oct 07)

Pupils’ model of an internet cafe

Pupils’ Presentation: CyberDiner

‘Bristol Harbourside – a teaching resource for sustainable development’

Amy Harrison, Architecture Centre, and Barry Pearce, Planning Aid South West, presented the CD-ROM (produced with Connexions) involving Garry Atterton, Castle School, Thornbury and Richard Papper, Patchway Community College, and others. It included notes, maps photo-tours and other documentation to facilitate fieldwork or an enquiry about the developments of Bristol docks. Available from

Regional context: South West England


Many of our towns will continue to make a valuable contribution to the region’s economic performance, but the scale of growth in those areas is likely to be commensurate with their role, function and potential. Such growth will provide opportunities for the creation of more viable communities with a critical mass of businesses and services which can sustain those settlements in the future.

The key to successful rural communities is flexibility. This should allow support to be given to local solutions that meet the changing needs of rural communities. It will be important to address key issues such as access to jobs and services, affordable housing and significant changes to agriculture.


Progress to date:

‘The Way Ahead’, the region’s Sustainable Communities plan, provides preliminary proposals for how the South West will actively manage future development and growth so that it is sustainable.

The region has begun to focus on developing dynamic, international cities capable of attracting global business, the best creative talent and high levels of investment. In addition, many of our market towns are now developing ambitious plans for their futures.

Key achievements include:

  • establishing the Mackay Vision for Plymouth
  • planning for Bristol Arena
  • development of Gloucester Docks
  • Market and Coastal Towns Initiative (MCTI) and Rural Renaissance

Delivery Activities 2006-2009

To meet these needs, the region needs to be bold and aspirational in planning for the future. Addressing severe weaknesses in existing infrastructure, particularly around transport and housing, is key and will also mean investing in the capacity of our communities to fully participate in the planning and development of their areas.

We will seek to:

  • promote the renaissance of the region’s largest cities
  • secure a sustainable future for rural areas.

Regional Economic Strategy for South West England 2006-2015

The RES consists of the Strategy document and Delivery Framework. This is supported by six documents that provide further detail or background information: Evidence Base, Spatial Implications, Strategic Context, Review of RES Delivery, Consultation Summary and Reference Guide.

Local context: Plymouth

Plymouth City Council

Local context: Cornwall Council

Cornwall Council

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This project was run in partnership with the Academy for Sustainable Communities which has since become the Skills and Knowledge team at the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and in association with the local architecture centres which are members of the Architecture Centre Network.

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