Written evidence from the Theatres Trust
The Theatres Trust supports the abolition of regional
spatial strategies (RSSs).
We believe that local enterprise partnerships (LEPs)
are necessary to deliver cultural infrastructure.
We believe that the proposed local enterprise partnerships
(LEPs) to be formed between local authorities and businesses would
provide a planning function and are necessary as a vehicle to
deliver cultural infrastructure.
The Trust supports the concept of local financing
and tax raising powers to be given to local government for use
by the LEP.
The development of LEPs should follow a clear pattern
with stakeholders and consultation with statutory consultees such
as The Theatres Trust.
We are keen to promote the adequate provision of
cultural facilities, in particular theatres within the UK.
The Theatres Trust would ideally like to be partner
authority in LSPs to be able to facilitate, continue and support
our work in relation to the strategic planning of theatres throughout
(1) The Theatres Trust welcomes the opportunity
to give evidence to The Communities and Local Government Committee
inquiry into the abolition of regional spatial strategies.
(2) We currently deliver our UK wide planning
advice role through The Town & Country Planning (General Development
Procedure) Order 1995, Article 10, Para (v) which requires the
Trust to be consulted on planning applications which include "development
involving any land on which there is a theatre." This
applies to all theatre buildings.
(3) We encourage applicants and developers to
contact us at the pre-application stage for our expert advice
at the earliest possible stage to safeguard theatre use, or the
potential for such use, but also on the integral design and strategic
location of new theatres.
(4) We note the terms of reference for the new
inquiry will be mostly focusing on the implications for house
building targets which are not part of The Theatres Trust's remit.
(5) As The National Advisory Public Body for
Theatres, established to "promote the better protection
of theatres" we aim to secure sustainable cultural infrastructure
in relation to theatres within the UK through the local development
(6) The Theatres Trust supports the abolition
of regional spatial strategies (RSSs) because as far as we are
concerned in terms of their guidance for strategic cultural provision
they were ineffective and inadequate. The Theatres Trust has had
far more success in advocating the protection and promotion of
cultural facilities at a local level with individual local planning
authorities in consultation with their local theatres and theatre
(7) We believe it is vital to have a level of
strategic planning between local councils and national government
to ensure proper coordination across council boundaries for the
infrastructure of cultural facilities.
(8) We believe that the proposed local enterprise
partnerships (LEPs) to be formed between local authorities and
businesses could provide a planning function and are necessary
as a vehicle to deliver cultural infrastructure.
(9) We understand that LEPs will not replicate
Regional Development Agencies but will look to secure the future
growth in private-sector jobs and helping business start-ups.
(10) The Trust sees cultural provision as an
essential component towards employment and enterprise and business
start-ups. Cultural industries, in particular theatre, draw on
the active support of their communities. They are places where
people feel part of their local community, working together and
being personally rewarded whilst giving something back to their
communities. They often show the way and are an example to others
looking to achieve the aspirations of the "Big Society".
(11) The vision for the coalition government's
"Big Society" is one which empowers local people and
communities, encouraging volunteering, community organising, and
involvement in local fundraising activities. This already happens
with local theatres as they strive to improve their building stock.
(12) The Trust believes that there are real benefits
to be gained from place-making and working in partnership. This
is localism in action, with local councils and businesses preparing
their own plans for improving planning and enterprise. Local enterprise
partnerships will need to help generate more private sector jobs,
as the public sector shrinks.
(13) However, partnerships will have to have
a realistic purpose and should take an active part in setting
direction and achieving delivery of a business plan identifying
key priorities for the LEP. Partnerships should be given powers
to shape their local economy and the financial flexibilities that
will allow this to happen in practice.
(14) The Trust supports the concept of local
financing and tax raising powers to be given to local government
for use by the LEP. And that the LEP should have the ability to
co-ordinate developer contributions which could be directed towards
new or improved cultural facilities.
(15) The Theatres Trust wishes to assist in the
development of LEPs where cultural infrastructure is set as a
long term economic strategy.
(16) The development of LEPs should follow a
clear pattern with stakeholders and consultation with statutory
consultees such as The Theatres Trust.
(17) As part of the Local Government and Public
Involvement in Health (LGPIH) Act 2007, the Government introduced
a degree of coercion to the voluntary framework of local strategic
partnerships (LSPs). The Act imposes new duties to consult and
to cooperate. Partner authorities were expected to continue to
be involved or even to lead in determining the implementation
arrangements for the local area agreement (LAAs) and the monitoring
of progress against targets.
(18) Unfortunately, unlike other comparable stakeholders
and statutory consultees such as Sport England (who we often benchmark
with and share policy principles), we were not included as a partner
authority. We therefore have found it difficult to participate
in the strategic planning for new theatre buildings throughout
(19) The Theatres Trust supports coercion provided
by the voluntary framework through the "duty to cooperate"
and would be happy to take on the responsibility to participate
in local partnership working and LSP aims and priorities when
local planning authorities are drawing up their local plans.
(20) The Theatres Trust would ideally like to
be partner authority to be able to facilitate, continue and support
our work in relation to the strategic planning of theatre buildings
throughout the UK.