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Land-based social enterprise & the planning system: a call for evidence & experiences

Tom Kenny

We know the planning system can cause problems for land-based social enterprises, but also that it has the potential to be a crucial lever for supporting common good land use.

To understand how to achieve this, we are identifying common issues, what groups want from the planning system, and how to get this to them. We are going feed in what we find to the upcoming consultation on rural planning. If you think you can help please get in touch.

Since social enterprise is a means of creating social value and empowering communities, it follows that it should be promoted by planning policy.  However the planning system is often seen as more hindrance than help by land-based social enterprises. The planning system has a key role in protecting the character of landscape, including restricting even social enterprises where necessary, but new models of land use will require new thinking.

Last year we published a policy report that set out some of the issues, and some avenues to explore for addressing them. Now we want to develop these ideas. A key way of doing that is to speak to planners, other experts, and organisations who either are having issues, or have successfully overcome them.

The video below shows how community groups have used the planning system to achieve their aims, and highlights the need for a planning system that supports land to be used for a diverse range of activities.

If you want to share your experiences, or know of anyone we should speak to, please get in touch. Just send an email to and we can find a time to talk. We will also be running a workshop on this issue on Wednesday 13th April, in time to feed into the government’s new consultation on rural planning policy. We look forward to hearing from you!

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