Architects and urban designers Taylor Young have been commissioned by Cheshire West & Chester Council and Oakmere Parish Council to prepare a community-led planning framework for the village.
The framework is being prepared in the context of the localism agenda following adoption into law of the Localism Act last year, which allows for communities in the form of neighbourhoods forums to draw up neighbourhood plans that councils should consider in local plans. There has not been a neighbourhood forum formally established in Oakmere. Taylor Young said residents in Oakmere were responding to "growing development pressures [and] are keen to develop a clear vision, articulate local distinctiveness and influence future developments and projects."
The Taylor Young work will provide the basis for any future formal neighbourhood plan for the village, which is next to Delamere Forest.
Taylor Young is taking the opportunity in Oakmere to pilot a neighbourhood planning edition of its Regener*8 capacity building board game, recognized by the Homes & Communities Agency.
A spokesman for Taylor Young said: "We regularly use our HCA-recognised game Regener8* to collect valuable information from customers and key stakeholders. The game has two overarching functions; the first to set out a process from inception to completion illustrating some of the risks to and reasons for the delivery of works, the second to get the group to make joint decisions about what really are priority issues.
"We used this game with groups in Penkside and Holmcroft in Stafford. It's a very different way of engaging people and the fun and slightly competitive nature of a game opened up friendly, constructive debate. This builds knowledge in the group so enabling community representatives to carry the message into their neighbourhood , whilst the budgeting aspects of Regener8* helps manage expectations."