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Ministers call for “embedded” cultural strategies in development plans

Published: Thursday, 31st March 2016

Cultural strategies should be embedded in local authorities’ plans and policies, according to the government’s first Culture White Paper.

The document, drawn up by the Department for Culture, Media & Sports (DCMS), has called for better collaboration between the cultural sectors and between cultural organisations and their partners at a local, regional and national level.

It has highlighted the ambition of the North East Culture Partnership whose ‘Case for culture’ sets out a vision for cultural development over the next 15 years which brought together more than 1,000 individuals and originations including 12 local authorities, in its development.

The White Paper said local government should be a key partner in such initiatives as it remains the largest funder of culture. Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) could be important players too, several have already put tourism, heritage and the creative industries at the heart of their strategies.

As well National Park authorities and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Partnerships and Conservation Boards are identified as playing a key role in ensuring treasured landscapes are enjoyed by a diverse range of users “and are protected for future generations”.

DCMS has committed to work with National Lottery distributors and national cultural organisations to support communities to realise their local cultural vision through a new ‘Great Place’ scheme.

This will be piloted initially in 12 areas of which at least four will be rural areas. DCMS said this initiative will support areas “where there is a strong local partnership and a commitment to embed culture in the local authority’s plans and policies.

“Historic England will provide advice to pilot areas on using planning and development to support the area’s wider cultural offer.”

The White Paper stressed that new developments should take account of existing arts and music venues and the need to create new spaces for culture.

The government said it would “encourage local authorities and property owners to make more empty spaces and buildings available for cultural activities on a temporary basis and encourage them to consider cultural elements, such as artists’ studios, when planning new developments”.

DCMS has also promised to support Historic England to establish new Heritage Action Zones.

View the press release

Roger Milne