Community Planning: Case studies: 005

community planning weekend
Young people planning
Leeds, Yorkshire, UK
Project leader:
Yorkshire Planning Aid

A good example of how young people can be involved in shaping an Area Action Plan for their city centre from the early stages with few resources.


The Process

key to colour coding
Intense community planning activity
Events, workshops, meetings, open house events, exhibitions.
Moderate community planning activity
Surveys, consultation periods.
Low level community planning activity
Preparation, revising documents, survey analysis, design work
Key points in community planning process
Formation of organizations or partnerships, launch of initiatives, project completion.
Other relevant events and activities
Local election, local plan adoption, tendering.
Nothing much happening
Waiting, breathing spaces

2005 Jul Planning
  • Liaison between Yorkshire Planning Aid (YPA), Leeds Development Department (LDD), and Leeds Youth Council (LYC).
  • LYC Executive Group agrees to devote an hour of next Youth Council meeting to a workshop on the City Centre Action Plan.
Sep Questionnaire

  • Prepared by LDD.
  • Distributed by LYC members within their schools.
  • Results compiled by LYC members
Oct Workshop: Issues and Options Part of LYC meeting on Saturday 15 October.
    To raise initial issues and options, from young people’s perspective, for the future of Leeds City Centre.

    LYC members (32).

    LDD reps (2); Leeds youth Service reps (1); YPA reps (1)

    1. Introduction to Planning System by YPA
    2. Explanation of City Centre Area Action Plan by LDD
    3. Group work. Participants identify:
      a) What is good about city centre
      b) What should be improved for young people
    4. Feedback session
    5. Agreement of next steps
Six volunteers identified to form a Planning Sub-Group of the Youth Council and continue working with LDD on the Action Plan.

Alternative options paper
  • Suggestions from the questionnaire and workshop considered by LDD and council members alongside those from a wide range of other groups and individuals.
  • Results incorporated into an Alternative Options paper.
2006 Jan
Feb Review session

  • YPA gives update at LYC meeting to explain what stage the plan is at and how some of the issues raised by the young people are reflected in the LDD’s Alternative Options paper. 
  • Youth Council agrees to hold a sub-group workshop on the Alternative Options paper.
Workshop: Alternative Options
    With small sub-group from Youth Council (4).  Session led by YPA rep, with support from LDD Officer
Preferred Options paper
    Responses from workshop considered by LDD in preparing a Preferred Options paper.  Feedback from young people’s workshop features on Leeds Council website


  • Leeds City Council is preparing a City Centre Area Action Plan under the new UK planning system

  • Consultation with all sections of the community is required by law. The Plan will take several years to prepare and the Council envisages three stages of consultation. The first stage is to ask people for their ideas on what should be in the plan

  • Young people are frequently left out of such consultation.

  • Leeds Development Department and Yorkshire Planning Aid decided to take an initiative to ensure that young people’s views are taken into account during the first and subsequent stages


Outcomes -
  • Incorporation of young people’s ideas and suggestion in the first two drafts of the Area Action Plan for Leeds City Centre. Views of 262 young people obtained.

  • Establishment of mechanism for further involvement by young people in Development Plan documents.

  • Provided young people with an insight into the Development Plan process (one expressed a desire to pursue a career in planning).

Outcomes - Shortcomings
  • Young people’s views on the Alternative Options paper were presented as a separate feedback document rather than integrated into a mainstream response document

  • The sub-group looking at the Area Action Plan has not been established formally by the Youth Council, and subsequently has had low attendance.


Parties involved

Core project

Leeds Youth Council
Co-ordination of young people

Leeds Development Department
Drafting Area Action Plan. Support for consultation process.

Yorkshire Planning Aid
Facilitation of process

Funding and resources
  • No significant costs involved or budgets available

  • Planning Aid services provided free


Planning aid key role in facilitation

The presence of Yorkshire Planning Aid helped ensure that feedback was given to the young people at appropriate stages and enabled them to maintain links with a process that is inevitably long and drawn out.  With membership of the Youth Council constantly changing, there is a need at each meeting to brief young people on what has happened before, and remind them of prior comments

photo gallery

Leeds Youth Council 01.jpg

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Leeds Youth Council 02.jpg

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Leeds Youth Council 03.jpg

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Leeds Youth Council session on the City Centre Area Action Plan. Workshop session during Leeds Youth Council meeting to raise initial issues and options, from young people's perspective, on the future of Leeds City Centre.

Leeds Youth Council 01.jpg


Leeds Youth Council 02.jpg


Leeds Youth Council 03.jpg





Documents available in date order. Please click on the image or information below it to download and display pdfs

download pdf
2 pages A4 47 KB
Workshop summary

15 October 2005

download pdf
3 pages A4 52 KB
Questionnaire Summary Sheet; results of survey of 262 young people.

November 2005

download pdf
4 pages A4 76 KB
Leeds Youth Council Comments from October Workshop linked to Alternative Options Paper

January 2006

download pdf
3 pages A4 approx. 1.05 MB
Leeds City Centre Area Action Plan Update

February 2006

download pdf
2 pages A4 66 KB
Leeds Youth Council Responses to Alternative Options Paper

May 2006

download pdf
7 pages A4 112 KB
Involving Young People in the Planning System, Yorkshire Planning Aid project report

July 2006



"You feel like you can do a lot more than you ever thought you could, more self esteem. young people would feel offended if a shelter was just placed there, there would be no respect. Everybody has a right to feel comfortable in their place that they use everyday"
Young person, Coleshill Design Team
"Outside recreation facilities, or as they would put it "somewhere to chill out", are a very common need raised by the young people I work with. When I'm proposing projects like this to adults I usually get them to imagine what they would do with their free time if they had little or no disposable income, could not go to the pub, or be welcomed in a café. If they did not have their own cars, homes or gardens to relax in, where would they go? Young people are just adults without the same benefits of adulthood."
Sarah Melia, South Hereford Patch Youth Worker, Herefordshire Council
"The young people gained an understanding of the design process; an understanding of possible restraints and reasoning to why they can't always get exactly want they want. The young people felt they were able to look at things from a different angle and become more tolerant of others"
Eve Schofield, Youth Intervention Supervisor
"Students working with non teachers, that is professionals, learn a different approach, a different way of communicating and working with adults and in this particular project they have had an additional outcome - a tangible outcome"
Kate Kearney, Head teacher, Coleshill School
"Using photography as a workshop medium, resulted in a high-energy exercise which was really successful in terms of bringing the team together. These designs, inspired by the shapes and outlines of the young people, were wrapped around the shelter to encourage ownership and make the space more specific to the age group."
Dr Sally Payen, Artist
"The phrase 'youth shelter' conjures up an image of glorified play equipment, something patronising and inappropriate.but it's the process of raising their visual aspirations that's as important as any shelter that is a result of it."
Marco da Cruz, Architect



"All the agencies involved felt that this had been a very positive session, and were delighted with the interest shown by the young people. The opinions of young people are often overlooked, but even in this short introductory session the planners at the event agreed that a number of very relevant issues had been raised.'"
Involving Young People in the Planning System, Yorkshire Planning Aid project report, 2006



Jacqui Baines
Yorkshire Planning Aid

Tel: +44 (0)113 237 8486

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Last updated on:12 August 2008