City Matters – 18th March 2015

I attended a meeting recently, at which someone asked, “Who has heard of Discover Ripon?” Despite growing recognition, only a small number of people in the room indicated they had, so in response, this month I want to explain what we are trying to achieve; why it is important and encourage more groups and individuals to get involved.

At its most simplistic, Discover Ripon is a logo and an over-arching brand for promoting and marketing the City. It was set up by my predecessor at the start of the City Development Initiative, to share information and support and co-ordinate marketing and promotion by individual organisation and help to encourage more tourists, visitors and residents to explore and learn about our City.

In essence, Discover Ripon is about recognising that we, as public, private and community sector organisations are all stronger by working together and promoting what our fantastic City has to offer as a whole than by working as individual organisations. It is about encouraging tourists and visitors to discover all of the fantastic attractions, businesses and events in and around the city; and it is about helping residents to discover the history of the city, what it has to offer for those living here today and things they can get involved in.

Currently, Discover Ripon is a website complemented by a Facebook page (with over 1,100 likes) a twitter feed (with over 2,200 followers) and the logo is used as the branding for our printed leaflets, which last year included our Le Tour de Ripon Visitor guide, Ripon Remembers World War 1 Events brochure and Ripon Christmas Events booklet. This multi-media approach provides a great opportunity for businesses and organisations to get involved and promote themselves to large numbers of people. Some are already taking advantage of this, but from the response in that meeting, there is obviously more work that we need to do.

The Discover Ripon website is an ever evolving project and currently we are working on a number of significant updates to it, which you’ll see over coming weeks. With individual sections for the community, visitors and business, there are information pages and opportunities for businesses and organisations to add their own details. There are also pages for events and news, so if you want to promote something that you are organising, or you’ve got a story to tell, you can add the details and we can help you to get the message out there. If it is on the website we can easily promote your message to our Facebook and Twitter audiences.

There are many aspects to Discover Ripon, recently on our Facebook site, we’ve been sharing a number of old images. This has stimulated a great deal of discussion about the City of the past and the changes over the years, but overall it has shown a great deal of community pride and interest. Indeed, they are a fascinating collection of images showing the changes in the City with some seemingly dating back to the early 20th Century, and as we look forward with the Ripon City Plan as to how the City may change in the next 15 years, they provide the recent background as to how we got where we are today.

Discover Ripon is an on-going project, if we are to address the perceived under-performance of the City then we need to get better at communicating, working together and shouting about what we have to offer. Projects in progress will see new Discover Ripon What’s On guides produced to promote the seasonal events taking place in and around the City, new Discover Ripon maps and event information put into the signboards around the city centre and new leaflets displays appearing in key locations where tourists, visitors and residents spend time.

There is so much of Ripon that is un-discovered by so many, so there is a great deal of work to do. At another recent meeting we were discussing how to celebrate the connections between the City and Lewis Carroll in advance of the 150th anniversary of the publication of Alice in Wonderland. The strength of these connections is unbeknown to many and yet this is an important link that we could celebrate further for the good of the City and we’ll be promoting over the coming weeks through the Discover Ripon media.

If you want to get involved, the Discover Ripon website can be found at http://www.discoverripon.org , on facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/1discoverripon and on twitter we are: @discoverripon. For any further information or help and assistance with getting involved please contact me at: alan@discoverripon.org or call: 01765 601100.

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City Matters – 12th February 2015

With Council budgets running from April to March, and significant savings still having to be made by the public sector, the period from October to February is now usually quite busy with consultations and announcements about proposed changes to services. One of my roles is to try to keep up-to-date with these, identify the implications for the City and where appropriate propose responses from the City Council to ensure the interests of the city’s communities are represented.

One of the proposals to emerge this year, which is of great concern, is North Yorkshire County Council’s proposed changes to the library service and that is why Ripon City Council have made strong representation that the proposals need to be reconsidered. Whilst on one hand it is pleasing that the importance of Ripon Library is recognised, on the other, the proposed changes threaten to undermine this.

The future vibrancy and vitality of our City centre depends on continuing to providing reasons for people to come here. Ripon city centre is a hub of services for residents of the City and the wider hinterland and the Library is part of that network. It provides an essential service and importantly it is not just about books, it is a community hub that provides a base for a number of other services. That is why the library received over 112,000 visits last year.
And there’s an economic dimension too, the vast majority of those people will probably have spent money in the City too. If our aspiration is to grow and create a vibrant City centre then we must strengthen our role as a service hub and work with others to seek to maintain existing services rather than risk having them diminished.

That is also why, following last week’s Council meeting, I am now looking at the impact of the proposed changes to the Ripon Local Bus Service which will take place in April. There are no easy answers, but given the importance you, the community, placed on City connectivity as part of the preliminary draft Ripon City Plan consultation, I will be looking into the options and trying to identify and propose a solution.

Away from consultations, we are delighted that we have been able to work with the York, North Yorkshire and East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership and Ripon Cathedral to bring a pop up business advice café to the city on Tuesday 10th March. This initiative, which started last year and has been incredibly successful in other places, will provide an opportunity for free business advice from a range of professional volunteers covering topics such as, Accounting, Apprenticeships, Business Planning, Customer Service Training, Digital Skills, Getting Paid, Growing your Business, Health & Safety, Law, Marketing, Raising Finance, Regulations, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Social Media, Starting a Business, Tourism, Training staff, Tax effeciency, Websites…..and being in business.
Using the Cathedral as a venue means that we’ve been able to add to the pop-up café offer and, as well as one-to-one advice, there are presentations about social media, customer care and we are pleased that Ian Curteis from Markenfield Hall has agreed to share his thoughts about ensuring visitors have a positive customer experience to encourage them to return.

For the tourism sector, working with our Visit Ripon group of tourist attractions, we have also organised a leaflet exchange to enable accommodation providers and other businesses to collect the latest leaflets about what there is to do in the Ripon area. And finally, businesses that register and attend the event can stay for a free familiarisation trip around the Cathedral. For further information about this event please go to: http://www.businessinspiredgrowth.com or email me: alan@discoverripon.org.

This event should provide the evidence that there is a demand for business advice in the City and support proposals to provide this on a more regular basis as currently being advanced by the Ripon Chamber of Trade.
From a Discover Ripon perspective this event also fits with our priorities for the marketing and promotion of the city in the tourism season ahead. Quite simply, there is more we can do to improve collaborative working and cross-promotion and to “sell” what the area has to offer. The pop-up café is part of a number of projects that we are working on at the moment to try to achieve this.

The leaflet exchange and Cathedral familiarisation trip are part of our attempt to ensure that accommodation providers, hospitality businesses and those that interact with tourists and visitors are given appropriate information to help promote the City.

Supporting all of this is our work on producing “What’s On” guides for 2015/16 to help raise awareness of the events taking place in and around the City and attract footfall. Improvements are being made to the information displayed in the signboards around the City too, to ensure that we fully utilise these promotional opportunities. We are also investing in improvements to the Discover Ripon website, to ensure that our on-line and off-line promotional activity is complementary.

All of this work will come to fruition in the coming weeks and will be ready as we head into the Spring, which marks the traditional start of the tourism season, with the aim of helping to attract even more tourists and visitors to the area in the year ahead.

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City Matters – 15th January 2015

This month, City Development Manager, Alan Weston, reports on the preliminary draft Ripon City Plan consultation and responds to some of the issues and comments raised.

At the end of September, the preliminary draft Ripon City Plan was published and distributed to every household as part of our community consultation. The comments and feedback you gave us are essential in helping to ensure that the Plan is being supported by local residents and identify any particular proposals causing concern. This is especially important given that, unlike traditional means of planning, the Ripon City Plan it will only be adopted if the majority vote for it at the community referendum.

Since November one of my tasks, as part of the City Plan team, has been to collate all of the responses, begin to analyse them and identify issues which need to be considered. Overall, the preliminary draft Plan was well received with 92% of people responding positively when asked “Do you support our general approach to planning for the future of Ripon?” and 92% also answering “Yes” to the question “Overall, do you support the proposals contained in the preliminary draft Ripon City Plan?” This is very pleasing and provides a strong platform on which the City Plan team can progress the development of the Neighbourhood Plan.

Nonetheless, within this there are many detailed comments and it is our intention to publish a document on our website (www.riponcityplan.com) which will outline every comment received and the response from the City Plan team. This is a significant exercise and at the time of writing this work is still on-going, however, there are a number of emerging comments which have already been identified and some of these are outlined below.

What can and cannot be included in the Ripon City Plan?

Some consultation responses have highlighted a range of other issues that should be addressed, such as changing the way in which the car parks operate or improvements to the tidiness and cleanliness of the city.

As a Neighbourhood Plan, the Ripon City Plan relates mainly to the way in which land, buildings and other infrastructure is used and a joined-up plan for the future development of the city over the next 15 years. This means that the Ripon City Plan has a very specific remit to comply with the Neighbourhood Planning legislation.

However, the City Plan team agree that many of the issues you’ve highlighted are also important and should be prioritised in other complementary strategies. In particular, there is scope to look at how these can be progressed through the City Development Initiative, led by Ripon City Council and / or the Greater Ripon Improvement Partnership of public, private and community sector representatives, which is currently developing its 2015 – 2020 strategy and business plan.

Why aren’t there more detailed proposals contained within the Preliminary Draft Ripon City Plan?

The preliminary draft Ripon City Plan is not a stage of consultation that we were required to do within legislation. However, given the comprehensive nature of the plan we were advised that it would good practice, helping residents to identify what the Plan was broadly seeking to achieve, ensuring that there was community support for the proposals and identifying any issues.

The next major phase of work will be the publication of the draft Ripon City Plan. This is a statutory stage of consultation and will comprise of a more detailed Plan outlining the specific policies that will deliver the proposals, backed up by a series of documents which will provide the evidence base.

Why are there are a number of development proposals in and around the City which are not mentioned in the Ripon City Plan?

The preliminary draft Ripon City Plan outlines an approach to housing but following the withdrawal of the Harrogate District Sites and Policies DPD in Summer 2014 there has been a noticeable increase in the number of proposals for housing development in and around Ripon. Each of these will be considered individually by Harrogate Borough Council as the Local Planning Authority and Ripon City Council, as a consultee in this process, will submit a view.

The boundary of the Ripon City Plan is the parish and therefore it can only be concerned with strategic planning for this area. However, the City Plan team are aware that given some of these proposals are within the boundary or in very close proximity the impacts need to be considered if any of these schemes are approved.

Inevitably, the world does not stand still and more proposals may come forward as work on the draft Ripon City Plan progresses. The City Plan team believe that we have the right approach for Ripon given current circumstances but this will need to continue to be reviewed as the preparation of the Plan progresses.

Can the Ripon City Plan progress whilst work on Harrogate Borough Council’s new Local Plan is only just starting?

The legislation is very clear in that Neighbourhood Plans need to “support the strategic development needs set out in Local Plans.” In our case, this means that the Ripon City Plan needs to support the Harrogate District Local Plan; consisting the Local Plan (2001 and Selective Alteration 2004) and its associated Policies Map, the Core Strategy (2009); and Local Planning Guidance.

However, Harrogate Borough Council is also in the very early stages of preparing their new Local Plan with the current timetable suggesting that this will be formally submitted to the Secretary of State in Summer 2017. This process will include a review of the strategic development needs of the district as a whole including Ripon. Therefore, close collaboration is essential and the Ripon City Plan team are working very closely with the Harrogate Borough Council Local Plan team to ensure this.

Ripon is not the only area developing a Neighbourhood Plan in similar circumstances and having looked at the process elsewhere, the City Plan team strongly believe that there is a precedent to continue to progress towards a community referendum in advance of the Local Plan being submitted.

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City Matters – 18th December 2014

Like so many other people at this time of year, the City Development Team has spent the last few weeks thinking about Christmas and the year ahead. Since my last column, the Christmas Lights Switch-On Event has taken place and this was a fabulous success with a record crowd in the Market Place, record numbers attending the Cathedral’s Food and Gift Fair and over 600 people taking advantage of the free entry and visiting the Ripon Museums. To build upon the success of the Tour de France and see the Market Place crowded with people for the second time this year was incredibly satisfying.

We couldn’t have put on the event without the help of a large number of volunteers and people behind the scenes and I particularly want to thank Peter Gilby, Mark Close and Skyler Zielinski; the members of Ripon City Council, Ripon Festivals, Ripon Rotary, Ripon Lions and North Yorkshire West Girl Guides who all helped out; Ripon Farm Services and Nidd Transport for their support. Thanks also go to all of those people who performed on the day; and CNG, TP Jones and Co and Costa Coffee for their financial contributions which enabled us to hire the fantastic snow machine and also bring Elsa, Anna, Olaf and Hans to our event.

Whilst we were pleased with the number of people attending the event, we are always looking to do better and our post event debrief highlighted a number of issues and areas where we feel we can make improvements for next year’s event. The growth in attendance at the event over the last two years is fantastic, but has caused its own problems in that the sound system we have simply isn’t good enough for large crowds and we need to look to investing in this for the future. The problems we experienced with our generator also shows that for more events to take place, we must resolve the power supply problems in the Market Place to enable this to be used and avoid these problems again. This is something we will be trying to resolve with Harrogate Borough Council.

These factors together with some over-running on our programming contributed to the lights being switched on late, but as the event management team, we felt it was only right to allow all of the performers the time that they had been allocated rather than cutting any performance short. If you attended the event we hope that you agree that this was the right decision and that you weren’t too disappointed that the event over-ran.

The period following the Christmas Lights Switch-On event was an opportunity to catch up on a number of tasks including some work to support Ripon Festivals with the arrangements for the New Year’s Eve event. Regular checking of the Christmas Lights has also been taking place to identify and resolve any problems and this has been particularly important this year with the new lights. We have had some issues, particularly in Kirkgate, which has resulted in the new lights being unlit for a period until some additional work could be authorised and carried out. From our feedback most people seem to be commenting positively about the new lights and the improvement they’ve made compared to last year.

Our work on the City Plan has also continued with a focus on the analysis of the responses to the consultation. We received a large number of hand-written questionnaires which we have arranged to be typed up to make it easier to assess your comments. At the moment this work remains on-going and so I hope I will be able to give you further information next month. Progressing this important piece of work for the City will remain a priority for the new year.

We’ve also spent some time in the last few weeks looking back over the year and planning our programme of promotion, marketing and events for 2015/16. Visitors are undoubtedly an important part of the Ripon economy, so attracting people into the area and encouraging them to spend time in the city centre is a key part of our approach. As part of this we are looking to produce and distribute five seasonal “What’s On” leaflets (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Christmas, Winter) promoting the events which take place in and around the City. Also, working with the tourism attractions that form the Ripon Ring and Visit Harrogate it is proposed to produce and distribute even more copies of the tourism brochure in 2015.

Events are an area of great potential too and so in 2015 we’re also looking to help to grow attendances at the existing annual events and also increase the number of events taking place by organising more activity in the Market Place and supporting other organisations with their own proposals. So, with a Christmas break approaching for the City Development Team, there is a lot already underway to ensure that we can hit the ground running in preparation for Spring 2015 and build upon our successes of this year.

As this is my last column of the year may I take this opportunity, on behalf of Sally and myself as the City Development Team, to thank all of those people that have helped us with our various activities throughout the year and to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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City Matters – 20th November 2014

The role of the City Development Team can be quite diverse, getting involved in lots of different activities and projects. Whilst there are many things that we could do, we are a small team of just one full-time and one part-time person, and therefore one of the biggest challenges that we face is prioritising and making sure that we continue to focus and maximise the impact that we can have with our capacity and resources.

Recent weeks have demonstrated the diversity of our role. In this period we have necessarily focused on two main projects: the preliminary draft City Plan consultation and the Christmas seasonal programme. So, on one hand we have been working with our volunteers, thinking strategically about the future development of the city over the next 15 years, whilst on the other thinking just a few weeks ahead and working on various aspects of Christmas in Ripon.

The City Plan is an integral part of the day-to-day work of the City Development Team. However, with the consultation, which began in September, it became a major project from the end of August until early November, when the consultation closed. In advance of the consultation our role was to produce all of the materials, including the summary plan, questionnaires, fliers, posters and the exhibition materials. Then as the consultation began our role was to co-ordinate the delivery of information to 7,500 households in Ripon, and also to ensure that key statutory organisations such as English Heritage, English Nature, Sport England and others, all have the opportunity to comment too.

Added to that, we’ve also been managing the City Plan website, twitter and facebook pages and, together with the volunteer members of the working group, we’ve also been attending meetings and presentations and manning the exhibition within the Town Hall. Now the consultation is closed, our role continues as we begin to collate and analyse all of the comments received and work with the City Plan team to address the issues raised.

At the same time as this, week by week, we have also been giving more attention to our Christmas programme. Following the success of last year, we have collated the information to enable us to produce a Christmas brochure, promoting all of the festive events in and around the city. This has included spending time securing advertisements from a number of businesses to help to fund the costs of the brochure. These are now in the process of being distributed to households in the city but if you haven’t received yours yet, they can also be collected from the Tourism Information Centre in the Town Hall and from a number of businesses across the city centre.

The countdown to Christmas begins on Saturday 22nd November, with the Christmas lights switch-on event taking place in the Market Place and the Food and Gift Fair at the Cathedral. There is also free entry to Ripon Museums and a Scuba Diving for All event with Santa and Mrs Claus in the Town Hall, so there is a lot for visitors to do in the City. Having a number of events on the same day worked really well last year and provides us with an opportunity to work with the media to promote all of the events, to encourage visitors to the city to go to the events and to stay to shop or eat.

The City Development Team, supported by Ripon Festivals, have organised this year’s Christmas lights switch-on event and will be responsible for managing the event on the day. Hosted by Stray FM’s Alex Cann and James Stanley, there will be music and entertainment from 16:00 including performances by the Dishforth Military Wives Choir, St Wilfrid’s Catholic School Choir and Holy Trinity Junior School Choir as well as the traditional arrival of Santa, competition winner Florence Maylor and the Mayor to help switch on the tree lights at 18:00. This year, also sees a very special appearance by Elsa, Anna, Olaf and Hans who will entertain the crowd and we are also encouraging children to get dressed up in their favourite costumes. We hope you are able to come down and enjoy the event and celebrate the start of the festive period

As part of the Christmas programme, it is also the role of the City Development Team to liaise with Harrogate Borough Council and the contractor to arrange the installation of the Christmas lights around the City. This year we again promoted a crowd-funding approach to improve the Christmas lights, and we were delighted to achieve our target which has enabled us to replace lights on Westgate, Kirkgate, Fishergate and Old Market Place, all of which were life-expired and I must say a huge thank you to those people and businesses that pledged to our campaign to make this possible.

I know that the location of the new lights has attracted some comment from people, but necessarily our priority over the last 2 years has had to be a phased programme of replacement of the existing lights around the city. Once the replacement programme has been completed, which we expect to be able to do for Christmas 2015, we can will also be seeking to raise funds and working to try to expand the coverage of lights across the city centre. Christmas is an important time of the year and all of our efforts are designed to try to ensure that the businesses of the city benefit during an important trading time of the year and that the community are proud of the city they call home.

Whilst this has been our focus, we’ve still been working on a number of other day-to-day tasks including our continued management of the Discover Ripon website, facebook page and twitter feed.

Next week, the vast majority of our work for Christmas will be over and whilst our City Plan work will continue we will be evaluating and debriefing from this year’s Christmas lights switch-on event and then we will be re-focusing and re-prioritising again and start planning for our Spring 2015 promotion, marketing and events campaign.

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City Matters – 13th October 2014

This month, City Development Manager, Alan Weston outlines how volunteers have played a critical role in developing the neighbourhood plan for Ripon and how there are numerous other projects and initiatives across the city which benefit from volunteering.

Last month I wrote briefly about the contents of the preliminary draft Ripon City Plan and if you live within the city, you will by now have received your copy of our information leaflet. Hopefully, you will have had a chance to read about our proposals and let us know what you think but, if you haven’t had chance yet, then you’ve still plenty of time until the consultation closes on the 31st October.

Recently, I was discussing the preliminary draft Ripon City Plan with the Chair of another parish, and was asked for advice about what was needed to produce a neighbourhood plan. Without hesitation, I answered that the most important thing was “willing and committed volunteers”.

The preliminary draft Ripon City Plan is the culmination of many months of work by a small, knowledgeable and dedicated team of volunteers, comprising of both Ripon City Councillors and community representatives with support from the City Development Team. Each one of the volunteers has spent many hours of their time working to produce this plan because they believe that the people of Ripon should have a greater say in the way in which the city develops over future years.

As part of our consultation, the volunteer team has manned the exhibition in the Town Hall to listen to your comments and answer your queries and, together with volunteers from the North Yorkshire West Guides, have helped with the practicalities of hand-delivering a leaflet and questionnaire to over 7,500 households in the city.

Our willing and committed volunteers have been critical in the progress we have made in producing and consulting upon a preliminary draft Ripon City Plan, and they want to continue as we move forward. In addition, having seen our proposals and what we are trying to achieve, more volunteers have already come forward offering help and assistance and this will help to provide additional capacity during the next phase of preparing the Plan.

However, the Ripon City Plan is not alone in benefitting from this altruistic activity. All across Ripon and the surrounding area, volunteers play an important role. Some organisations operate on an entirely voluntary basis, whilst for others volunteers provide significant additional capacity to enable more to be carried out. That is one of the reasons why, working in conjunction with Mark Hopley from the Harrogate and Ripon Centres for Voluntary Services (H&RCVS), the “Connecting Ripon” group was established; to provide an opportunity for voluntary and community groups to meet up, identify shared interests and work collaboratively. It is also one of the main reasons why members of the group have identified “celebrating and strengthening volunteering” as one of its key priorities and last weekend, as part of this, the group held its first event on the Market Place to promote volunteering opportunities that are available around the city.

Just looking at some of these opportunities you can see how diverse they are, anything from retailing to reception duties and fundraising to event-marshalling . Whatever skills you have already, volunteering can be a great way to utilise your expertise to benefit others, but it can also be a great opportunity to learn new skills too.
One of the volunteering opportunities we offer, as the City Development Team, is for city ambassadors. This is a scheme whereby volunteers walk the streets and provide help and assistance to those who need it, perhaps finding a particular place or giving details about a particular event.

Whilst here in Ripon, our volunteer ambassador scheme is coming to the end of its second season, I recently had the opportunity to discuss the longstanding Skipton Ambassadors Scheme with their town centre manager. This scheme has been running for a number of years and benefits from a larger number of volunteers, each with a different motivation for getting involved, but all passionate about their town. We both agreed that without the volunteers who get involved in this scheme and various other projects and initiatives, both Ripon and Skipton wouldn’t be anything like the places they are today.

As a City Development Team, working with other partner organisations, we know the aspirations for the future of the City and are developing our strategies and plans to achieve this. Our ambition is only constrained by our resources and capacity and so we are always grateful for the altruistic spirit that exists and the help and support we get from our volunteers, passionate about their City and wanting to help make it better.

If you wish to find out more about the volunteering opportunities with the City Development Team please contact: alan@discoverripon.org or telephone: 01765 601100, or for information about volunteering opportunities around the city, please contact Harrogate and Ripon CVS – Volunteer Centre: 01423 509004

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City Matters – 15th September 2014

In this month’s column, Ripon City Development Manager, Alan Weston, looks at the work being carried out in relation to planning for the longer-term future of the City and briefly outlines the approach being taken in the Ripon City Plan complemented by the City Council’s City Development Initiative and the work of the Greater Ripon Improvement Partnership.

What will Ripon be like in 2030? We simply don’t know the answer, but what we can say with certainty is that the City will change over the next 15 years or so. This is inevitable. So, having a vision for the future and a plan (or plans) for delivering it will mean that change can be both encouraged and managed for the better ensuring the Ripon of the future can be the City which we all want to see.

Neighbourhood Plans are an exciting way for people to have a greater say in the future of the place in which they live and that is why we have grasped the opportunity. The Ripon City Plan, our Neighbourhood Plan for our City, will enable local people to have a greater say about the way in which land and buildings are used because all local residents will be given the opportunity to vote on the proposals in a referendum.

Over the last year or so, the City Development Team has been working with the Committee of councillors and community representatives to develop the Ripon City Plan. This work has been based upon responses to the consultation asking “How could Ripon be better for you?”

As I write this column, sat on my desk is the latest draft of the leaflet that will be delivered to every household explaining about the preliminary draft Ripon City Plan and the proposals that we are suggesting will make Ripon the City that you want it to be.

This “preliminary” stage is something extra that we are including above and beyond what Government regulations require. The leaflet is just one part of our consultation; we will put information on our website, hold meetings, take displays around the City and hold a permanent exhibition in the Town Hall. We want to gather as many views as possible at this preliminary draft stage.

Putting together the Ripon City Plan has been demanding. There have been a lot of issues to consider and some difficult choices to be made but the City Plan Committee believe that this is a comprehensive plan that addresses many of the key challenges facing the City.

As you can imagine, the Plan is quite detailed. Our narrative starts by recognising the constraints and features of the city which need to be respected: the proximity of the Rivers Ure, Skell and Laver, the underlying geology and the attractive landscape setting.

Against this backdrop, the Plan then outlines the contribution it can play in addressing a number of key strategic issues including:
• Supporting the Ripon economy
• Enjoying open spaces and recreation
• Regenerating key parts of the city
• Strengthening the city centre
• Providing new homes
• Connecting Ripon together

Our proposals for how these issues are to be addressed will be outlined in the material we will be publishing when our consultation commences on Friday 26th September. The consultation will run until Tuesday 21st October and there will be plenty of ways in which you can respond offering your thoughts and comments. For further details about the Ripon City Plan and our consultation events please visit: http://www.riponcityplan.com.

Whilst the Ripon City Plan is an important part of looking at the long-term future and development of the City, by its very nature it has to focus on land, buildings and infrastructure. Alone, it cannot address all of the issues that you highlighted would make Ripon a better place. This is where both Ripon City Council’s City Development Initiative and the multi-organisation Greater Ripon Improvement Partnership also have roles to play, developing and delivering complementary projects and initiatives which deliver improvements in the City and contribute to a comprehensive Ripon Renaissance.

Already, a number of potential projects have been identified which could complement the Ripon City Plan, as well as complementing the existing programme of projects and helping to address the issues you identified as being important in making Ripon better. Many of these aren’t going to be quick fixes but longer-term projects that require resources and management from other partners but will make a significant positive contribution to the Ripon of the future.
As I said at the beginning; change is inevitable. However, with the emerging work of Ripon City Plan, the City Development Initiative and the Greater Ripon Improvement Partnership all complementing each other, the City is getting its strategic act together to produce a comprehensive and deliverable plan for managing the renaissance of Ripon and to make it the City we all want it to be.

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