Making space for everyone - spaces that encourage shared experiences for the whole community
‘At a time when so many forces in society are encouraging individuals to identify themselves with particular groupings, often in opposition to others, it is more important than ever that our towns and urban centres offer spaces that encourage shared experiences for the whole community.’
‘The history and architectural form of a place should guide the creation of those spaces. Engaging local people in the debate is often the key to success. So why do we find that so hard to achieve and what might help?’
As well as holding numerous voluntary posts and honorary positions, Carole has been the guest judge for the IHBC’s Gus Astley Student Award in 2017, and currently serves as the Chair of the Planning Committee of the Oxford Preservation Trust.
INTERIM CPD RESOURCES
Carole Souter & her networks
Renewing Urban Centres: British strategies in action with case study experience from Flanders, and from government’
‘It is good that a city like ours has found inspiration in the UK to see how the same problems can generate creative solutions.’
‘We’re doing well, we’re doing better than other cities in Flanders, but still it’s a challenge every day.’
‘But by mixing measures, like subsidies, and giving investment incentives, we’ve seen in one and a half years more than 28 new shops.’
Dr Kris Declercq is Mayor of the West-Flemish city of Roeselare, Belgium.
Kris obtained a LLM-degree (Master of Law) at the KULeuven and specialized in commercial and constitutional law at the University Of Stellenbosch (South Africa). After practicing law for a number of years he took his first political steps at the cabinet of Minister Stefaan De Clerck and later as Deputy Head of Cabinet of Prime Minister Yves Leterme and also as advisor to Herman Van Rompuy, in the field of constitutional law and local government.
In 2016 Kris became mayor, focusing on retail and city-planning and inspired by the ideas of UK-retail specialist Bill Grimsey.
He is president of the ‘West-Vlaamse Intercommunale’, gathering 54 cities in Western Flanders.
Faced with declining footfall and store closures Kris was inspired by The Grimsey Review and tailored the recommendations to Roeselare, setting in place a development plan to transform the town.
Roeselare and its revival
Roeselare is a city of some 62,000 people. Kris, after being elected in 2006 as alderman of economic development, remained in office until 2016 when he became Burgemeester. He led the successful implementation of a progressive renewal programme from 2013.
Kris looked to a report by British high street ‘guru’ Bill Grimsey, that ‘made recommendations around areas including leadership, funding, business rates and parking’.
Roeselare’s successful programme is distinguished by, among other things, the strong leadership from the public sector, and the close partnerships and responsive interactions with local communities.
The experience of delivering change at Roeselare offers important and first-hand experience and insight into what is possible when securing sustainable new futures for old towns.
A plan designed to revive British retailers is being put to good effect – on the streets of Belgium.
A 2013 report made a number of recommendations on how to help UK retailers, but the proposals were largely ignored.
But the city of Roeselare in Flanders picked up on the idea and is starting to see the benefits.
‘I was very inspired five years ago when I read the review,” Mayor Kris Declercq told ITV News. ‘I needed some big reforms and shock therapy for our shop owners.’
The report, by retailer Bill Grimsey, made recommendations around areas including leadership, funding, business rates and parking.
Ideas put into action in Roeselare – home to around 60,000 people - include:
INTERIM CPD RESOURCES
Paul McTernan, MIPI, MRTPI, FRICS, Technical Director, SLR Consulting and an urban regeneration specialist
Topic area: Financial and economic considerations in public sector regeneration – Advice from an adviser
Adala Leeson, Head of Socio-Economic Analysis and Evaluation at Historic England
Topic Area: Economic evaluation in projects, bidding and assessment – Creating the evidence base for a business case, looking to the UK Treasury’s model
Graham King: Head of Strategic Planning and Transportation City of Westminster (Retiring) and Lewes resident
Topic Area: Urban design in historic towns: Principles, observations and solutions, from Lewes to London and beyond
John McLean, Architect and Director, Morgan Carn Architects
Topic Area: Brighton’s Hannington Lane – A case study in new design in sensitive settings
Jo Saady: Architect and Director, Ecotecture Ecological Design
Topic Area: Green, sustainable and environmental conservation: Practice considerations in urban contexts