Cornwall Councillors, stakeholders and PERFECT project partners from the Netherlands and Austria came together in Cornwall in November to discuss current and future approaches to delivering GI in Cornwall.
The objective of the day held in Newquay, Cornwall as part of PERFECT was to examine how well Cornwall Council and developers currently plan, provide and manage green infrastructure. This was done through a number of expert presentations, a planning ‘game’ and a series of challenges set to our participants. There was also the opportunity to visit a recently completed housing development and a community orchard to explore how well current green infrastructure policies are working in practice.
Participants were then challenged to suggest ways of improving practice and policy. A number of common themes emerged with a lack of engagement of communities in planning green infrastructure, silo thinking leading to smaller, unconnected spaces, lack of maintenance and poor connectivity given as key concerns. It also helped to amplify the need for a better framework and resource for all decision makers to understand the opportunities for creating multi-functional green infrastructure.
A follow on event and peer to peer next day working close to the site of the proposed West Carclaze Garden Village with highway and drainage adoption teams and peer support from Austria and the Netherlands helped to examine current issues and reinforce the practical changes that need to be made to the way that we plan, provide and adopt green infrastructure in Cornwall.
The techniques used for both events engaged stakeholders and councillors in thought provoking ‘games’ and time spent outdoors discussing GI in real situations to encourage direct application of GI thinking to local issues. Quick fire exercises helped set a series of high level challenges that helped reduce silo thinking in favour of recognising the benefits multi-functional networks of space can make to help resolve a number of linked priorities for the Council.
The events have engaged stakeholders and councillors in understanding the need to actively plan for green infrastructure and to recognise the benefit that larger interconnected spaces can make to improve the social, economic and environmental functioning of new and existing developments. It has arguably created an even more positive appetite for improving the way that Cornwall plans, provides and maintains its green infrastructure and a desire to continue to learn from the action of our PERFECT partners.