When we think of town planning, we think of developments, street designs, and infrastructure, but delve a little deeper and you’ll discover that a town planner is far more involved in aspects of a community’s development than you realise. Let’s take a peek at the scope of a town planner and the surprising services of Wall Planning & Environmental Consulting (WPE).
Best Outcome For The Community
One of the more obvious aspects of town planning is the knowledge and use of local, state, and federal planning legislation. This does play a big role in everything we do, but the critical aspect of applying legislation is about knowing the community and how to make the legislation work for them to create vibrant, engaging, and useful spaces for the community to utilise for generations.
Knowing the community, its needs, and its relevant legislation – and then bringing it all together – is how best possible outcomes are achieved and why town planning services often extend beyond development applications and into community analytics and liaising. WPE, for instance, offers the following services:
Development Applications (DA) are the bread and butter of all town planners and can sometimes be intensely complex when new and unusual developments want to break the mould and innovate their place within a town’s strategic plan.
A development application report by a town planner takes into account every aspect of relevant legislation from local council planning schemes, state planning schemes, and various other government and regulatory bodies, including:
- Transport legislation;
- Fire and Emergency Services;
- Australian Standards;
- Infrastructure company regulations;
- Environmental legislation; and
- Civil design regulations and standards.
That legislative knowledge and ability to know what is required and where to find it is why town planner services are essential when submitting a development application to local council and state bodies.
Social Impact Assessments
A Social Impact Assessment (SIA) is a tool that analyses, monitors, and manages the intended and unintended social consequences, both positive and negative, that an activity, company, or organisation has, or will have, on its communities.
Social impacts can include the increase or decrease of jobs, services, housing, and businesses within a community; however, the SIA also takes into account the less direct impacts such as housing market prices and economic patterns and how they will affect the community also.
The SIA gathers the critical data and variables to identify all the existing and potential impacts provides strategies to minimise negative impacts and nurture positive impacts. In Queensland, this tool is commonly associated with large industries such as mining when they come into or leave a community, but can be implemented across any industry and any type of ‘community’.
The targeted result – strength and sustainability within a community for the life of an activity and beyond.
WPE is proud to have developed Queensland’s first ever Social Impact Assessment for a mine closure on behalf of Glencore Clermont Mine.
Master Plans are most often created for local councils to create a sustainable, long-term plan for a large scale activity, such as the development of a precinct. Much like Social Impact Assessments, this is all about analysing and understanding the community to ensure the master plan is not only economically sustainable, but meets the communities needs now and for generations to come.
The Master Plan created is not only a visual plan but a strategic plan that sets out:
- The site and community history;
- Analysis the site and its users;
- The objective, vision and principles of the Master Plan;
- The site plan with proposed projects;
- The projects within the Master Plan; and
- Implementation, timeline, and costs.
This gives the council clear direction and timelines to obtain funding, set budgets, and carry out the development.
Who better to be involved in community and stakeholder engagement than someone who is already involved in the development of communities on so many levels?
The most common stakeholder engagement carried out by WPE is to do with major regional developments such as new mines, solar farms, and wind farms. Why a town planner? – Because they have the development legislation knowledge, the community contacts, and analytical tools to bridge the gap between project and community with the view to foster better communication.
Proper stakeholder engagement ensures the community is informed, heard, and understood, and then the engagement is analysed to identify impacts, barriers, and possible solutions that will suit both community and project.
Maintaining good communication through mediation and analytics helps to target the best possible outcome for each party.
WPE and Queensland Communities
Wall Planning & Environmental Consulting is a company born in regional Queensland from domestic and international experience, which today services the state of Queensland from city to country. We understand each community and their uniqueness.
Our expert team, located across the state, has the knowledge and experience to get the best possible outcomes for your community and projects. To engage with the community, engage with us first – contact WPE today!