Place Planning


Place Planning

What are Place Plans?

Following the recent Planning Act 2015, there is now a requirement for Local Planning Authorities in Wales to work with communities to create Place Plans. Place Plans are planning documents prepared and led by communities to enable residents to have a greater say on developments within their local area. However, Place Plans are still very much in the ‘pilot’ phase with limited guidance on how they should be prepared and what they should include. Confirmed aspects of the Place Plan are that it will need to conform to the Council’s Local Development Plan, and will become a statutory document to be adopted by the Council.

As the ‘pilot’ phase develops, and a final framework for developing a plan is defined, this message is to be relayed to Town and Community Councils. 

Why does Wales need Place Plans?

Place Plans will look to deliver or contribute to the community’s needs and be important in determining developments in their areas. They will go further than the current Locality Plans and could potentially include land allocations and specific area policies.

The idea is to begin the planning process from a local level and moving up, rather than a top-down approach. By understanding local priorities, Local Authorities in Wales can ensure they provide adequate resources appropriately.

How will Welsh Local Authorities ensure there is adequate engagement with community residents when developing a Place Plan?

Increasing engagement with residents is a priority for Local Planning Authorities in Wales to ensure the voice of the community residents is heard.

In conjunction with Conwy Council, OpusMap and OpusPromote are currently developing a web toolkit that helps to publicise and promote the Plan, as well as encouraging direct participation in the consultation process via the Web and social media.

Place Planning with OpusMaps

A new Planning Policy initiative in Wales and a new role for OpusMap in Welsh Councils. Place Plans are planning documents prepared and led by communities to enable residents to have a greater say on developments within their local area. Confirmed aspects of the Place Plan are that it will need to conform to the Council’s Local Development Plan, and will become a statutory document to be adopted by the Council. With OpusMap and its in-built Place Plan toolkit Welsh Councils and local communities will be able to engage and work collaboratively in the development of Place Plans.

A CMS for publishing webpages

  • Create and publish web pages and content in addition to creating interactive maps.
  • Create stand-alone websites for maps or a series of unique micro-sites with individualised maps.

Real-time interactive mapping

  • Create, brand and update custom-built maps from your data and publish to the web from one central CMS
  • Includes OS OpenData out of the box; add OS MasterMap for greater detail and accuracy
  • Add address searching to help users see what’s happening “on their doorstep”

Polls and Surveys

  • Ideal for use with community engagement initiatives such as Neighbourhood Plans and Place Plans
  • Ideal for use when working collaboratively with stakeholders in Local Plan and planning policy programmes

Social Media Integration

  • Use social media to increase online engagement
  • Save time and money by encouraging people to engage online
  • Ask us about OpusPromote, our new service for building successful web campaigns in support of planning

Registration, comment & response tools

  • Encourage user registration to improve the level of engagement and participation in planning initiatives
  • Ideal for use in conjunction with consultatuons and community initiatives such as Neighbourhood Plans and Place Plans
  • Undertake informal consultations with our new comment and response tools

Analytic Tools

  • Be better informed about what messages and content are stimulating engagement and participation
  • Improve decision-making and management reporting by easily identifying what interests your audience and what encourages engagement via your website

How it Works?

Using digital and offline channels such as social media, email, flyers and other marketing collateral, the Place Plan toolkit is able to create awareness amongst targeted community groups. These channels then enable residents to engage, voice opinions and get involved in the production of a Place Plan via the Web.
OpusMap forms a web-based resource for community residents to refer to that contains an interactive map, linked to policy documents and further information on relevant areas such as preservation sites etc. From here, residents can register their details and comment on specific plan details.

Planners can use OpusMap to produce limitless maps and styles to create a useful resource from the perspective of the public, and also gain access to the registered contact details which are stored within OpusMap for ongoing engagement with community residents.

This web toolkit was piloted via the Abergele Place Plan, an area chosen by the Welsh Government to begin preparing national guidance for communities in developing Place Plans.

Benefits of using OpusMap for publishing Place Plans

  • Everything in one place: Publish both your LDP (or LDP review) and Place Plans using the same software
  • Work collaboratively: set-up user permissions for both planners and Neighbourhood Plan community representatives to work collaboratively
  • Easy to roll out into communities: OpusMap uses a ‘toolkit template’ approach; any Place Plan microsite can be replicated and personalised as many times as required for as many community Place Plans (and Locality Plans) as required
  • Supports digital and traditional: The Place Plans toolkit has assets and materials for social media, flyers, posters, postcards and questionnaires for online and offline engagement
  • Bilingual: Publish Welsh and English Place Plans from OpusMap
  • Publish pages as well as maps: CMS allows you to publish web pages as well as maps so you can add more content and media in support of Place Plans
  • Simple comment and response system: allow residents and businesses to register and submit comments and ideas via the Place Plan website
  • Social media integration: Use social media with your Place Plan website to increase participation and engagement
  • Consultation integration: Use our API to link maps published in OpusMap to your consultation system
  • Keep up-to-date and informed: Powerful analytics track user engagement to identify what messages, topics and policies are influencing opinions and decisions
  • Ongoing support and maintenance: 9-5 email and telephone helpdesk and no additional costs for improvements and updates to OpusMap


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