The built environment – homes, shops, streets and open spaces – play an important part in our wellbeing and happiness. It has a direct impact on how strong and resourceful communities are.

New development can improve our built environment but sometimes it can exclude existing residents from its benefits, and even have a negative impact on the existing community.

Communities are not always able to influence new development in their area. Legal public consultation requirements can seem insincere and be confusing. It’s not always easy for communities to have their voices heard or fully understand the changes being proposed.

This one-off workshop, led by Create Streets, aims to build knowledge, confidence and understanding about community-led development and share effective ways to influence local, physical change.

You will hear from people who have ‘been there and done that’ in Big Local areas and beyond and gain better understanding of how and why communities are, increasingly, leading development themselves.

You’ll explore:

  • The increasing resources available to develop land and build homes
  • How to develop neighbourhood plans which guide future development
  • Collating or encouraging responses to public consultations
  • Creating designs for community-led development
  • How to influence councillors or developers.

Follow on support will also be available from Create Streets after the event.


Several knowledgeable and experienced experts are looking forward to being part of this event.

Stephen Hill is a Director at C20 futureplanners, is an experienced and leading exponent of Community Land Trusts, with forty years of experience of housing, planning and delivering mixed-use development, urban extensions, new settlements, and community-led neighbourhood regeneration. He is currently Chair of the UK Cohousing Network and a board member of the National Community Land Trust Network.

Melissa Mean manages the Arts Programme at Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC). Her work includes producing a wide range of digital, photographic and film projects, and exploring the role that the arts can play in business development, social action and regeneration. One project focuses on citizen-led infill housing in Knowle West, Bristol with We Can Make.

Nicholas Boys Smith is the founding Director of Create Streets and has run or is running a wide range of early stage, community engagement, planning and local government consultation projects. Nicholas is currently co-chair of the Government’s Building Better Building Beautiful Commission and is a Commissioner of Historic England.

Helen Nicol is a community-led housing development manager at Locality and founder of Blue Chula, a consultancy specialising in community development & engagement, collaboration & partnership working and change & programme management.

Who is this workshop for?

This workshop is for people working on Big Local who:

  • Want to influence development or take the lead on community-led development, such as through Community Land Trusts
  • Want to understand more about the process, language and key concepts of how changes to the built environment happen
  • Have barriers or questions they need to resolve to make a positive difference
  • Want more information on the resources and networks available to communities
  • Want to learn from the experiences of others in influencing and taking the lead on development both within and outside Big Local.

About Create Streets

Create Streets exists to help solve the housing crisis and to help communities and developers create street-based places that will be popular with the wider community and are likely to be correlated with good wellbeing outcomes. 

Our goal is to make it easier to develop high density, beautiful, street-based economically and socially successful developments with strong local support and which residents will love for generations. 

More about this event

Two people can attend from each Big Local area. Please book your place here.

The event is free for anyone who lives or works in a Big Local area and we will provide lunch. We also provide financial support for travel, childcare and other care costs to residents in Big Local areas. We can also book and pay for travel in advance which you can request when you register.

If you are attending a Big Local event as part of your paid work/employment then we ask that your employer cover your expenses. However, we can pay or contribute towards worker’s expenses in exceptional circumstances. Please ask when booking for further information.

Book a place