At a glance

Institution: 
Method: 
Partners: 
Test Valley Borough Council, The Romsey Future Partnership, Involve, The Democratic Society, mySociety, RSA, DCMS, MHCLG, Renaisi
Duration: 
Two weekends in November 2019
Project Type: 

Test Valley Borough Council are bringing together 50 randomly selected people from the local area to form the Romsey Future Citizens' Assembly. Through this process the Council hope to gain a greater understanding of how residents can contribute to and shape the masterplanning process for Romsey town centre.

The Citizens' Assembly will be asked to consider and provide recommendations on the question:

How do we improve the area around crosfield hall and the bus station to deliver the maximum benefit to romsey?

Across two weekends, participants will be asked to consider a variety of options for the future of the town centre and weigh up the benefits of different options for the community, local economy and environment. Particular focus will be on the following areas:

  • Accessibility to the town centre
  • The appearance of the town centre
  • How the area is used as a place to live, work and enjoy

This face-to-face participation will be complemented by digital platforms to increase the reach, accountability and transparency of the process.

Background to the Project

Over the last 12 months, the Romsey Future Partnership has been consulting with residents on the creation of a masterplan for the area south of the town centre. The findings from the Romsey Future Citizens' Assembly will inform the preparation of the masterplan that will guide the future re-development of this area of the town centre. 

This Citizens' Assembly forms part of the Innovation in Democracy Programme (IiDP) which is jointly delivered by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG). IiDP is trialling the involvement of citizens in decision-making at a local government level through innovative models of deliberative democracy.

Each participating local authority will have support from the Democracy Support Contractor Consortium made up of Involve, The Democratic Society, mySociety and the RSA, as well as up to £60,000 to cover the costs of implementing the public dialogue. The programme is being independently evaluated by Renaisi.

Next Steps

The Romsey Future Citizens' Assembly should lead to local people having a real impact on how the Council develops its policies towards the town centre in the future. 

The headline recommendations from the Citizens' Assembly will be published in mid-December and a full report will be published soon after. The full report will be discussed by Test Valley Borough Council and Romsey Future Partnership in February 2020. The Council's Cabinet will use the report to inform their decisions on how to take forward the improvements to Romsey Town Centre as part of the masterplanning process in April 2020.

Alongside this, learning from the project will be shared with other local authorities who are interested in new forms of citizen participation and practical uses of deliberative democracy.