I spent 30 years working in local government before being made redundant and setting up in business for myself. Initially I worked as a planner, but the in the last few years I was involved in much wider aspects of public policy. In particular I worked for many years on town centres, on economic development issues and on public transport projects. Whilst at Kennet, I spent a great deal of time working on Devizes Town Centre, on the Pewsey WigglyBus (pdf), now Connect2, and on environmental matters including the development of Kennet’s Local Agenda 21 Strategy. In my role as head of the Planning Team I introduced extensive public involvement into the review of the Kennet Local Plan, working in conjunction with consultancy BDOR. I continued working as a planner after being made redundant, although much of that work was in Ireland dealing with planning appeals for An Bord Pleanala, the Irish Planning Inspectorate. In the UK I worked on a range of community based projects, supporting local groups in preparing things like Village Design Statements or in carrying out organisational reviews.
I also wrote and collated over 60 issues of a newsletter for the Wiltshire Federation of Community Area Partnerships, setting out examples of good practice, sharing ideas and projects from other groups across the UK (and abroad).On a voluntary basis I was also active in my own community, spending time as Chair of Melksham Trust (a building preservation trust) and Action for Melksham/Melksham First (the Community Development Partnership for Melksham).
I eventually retired from consultancy and began a third career as an artist, but I have always retained my interest in community development, especially in how we might take control of our own destinies and not be subject to the whims and fashions of politicians and big business.
This blog is one aspect of that interest. It represents an attempt to turn the theoretical and political background to these ideas into practical ideas for the community in which I now live. I never believed that the WFCAP Newsletter I wrote was adequately distributed by the then Wiltshire County Council, so this blog also gives me the opportunity to recycle some of that material.