Does it really work?
Planning and food growing - lessons from Brighton and Hove
Food Matters (www.foodmatters.org), based in Brighton, helped set up the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership and now works on national initiatives aiming to create sustainable and fair food systems. They worked with Brighton & Hove City Council to write a Planning Advice Note encouraging the incorporation of community food growing space into new developments.
Since the Council agreed the planning advisory note over 38% of approved planning applications have included community food growing. Residential planning applications have included 383 sq metres of dedicated food growing provision at ground level; 142 sq metres of raised beds; 87 sq metres of food growing areas in roof gardens; 23 fruit trees and 2 nut trees.
Brighton & Hove Council also has a tool that helps both developers and the planners processing applications. Their sustainability checklist is part of the validation process and includes a section on food growing. Because the tool is online, the checklist allows the Council to monitor how policy is implemented.
Making Hull a food city
Project partners Food4Hull are thrilled at their success in getting food issues on the agenda in the new draft local plan for Hull. Back in 2014, Food4Hull responded to the consultation on Issues and Options for the future of the area & pointed out how local food growing contributes to the future vision for Hull especially as health is a key priority. Late in 2015 when the first draft plan was published they were disappointed no policies specifically mentioned food growing. They submitted a robust response and in June 2016, the (almost) final draft contained a whole new section on local food growing. By December 2016, the policies and text had been further edited and they could see the results of their efforts in getting food on the planning radar. The new Local Plan was adopted in 2017 with a whole section on local food growing and a new policy.
The city is the third most deprived local authority area. Residents typically suffer from poorer health and lower levels of educational attainment than the national averages. So once the relevance of planning for food growing had been pointed out, the Council was amenable to using its planning powers to address this issue.
Food4Hull’s involvement in the emerging plan has enabled them to raise local food growing at an early stage of plan making to ensure it would be featured in the detail of the plan. Getting involved in plan making has needed a lot of patience. It has taken 4 years from the first consultation to the sight of the final plan. Now local organisations have a firm policy footing to raise awareness of the food system in Hull.
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