In March 2022, the Bodmin Town Centre Charrette was an open invitation community planning and co-design event, led by JTP on behalf of Cornwall Council, with partners Bodmin Town Council, Bodmin Town Team and Bodmin Chamber of Commerce. Around 350 people from the local community took part in a series of workshops, walkabouts and hands-on planning groups to create a new Vision for Bodmin Town Centre.
What is a Charrette?
A Charrette (aka Community Planning Weekend) is an intensive, hands-on, co-design workshop that brings members of the community and stakeholders together with professionals from different disciplines to create a Vision and action plan that is specific to a place and community. The multi-day format, with proximity working and a deadline for the final Vision presentation, stimulates creative debate, accelerates decision making and encourages people to “think outside of the box”. Originating in the United States over sixty years ago, the Charrette process has been a tried and tested method for involving communities in generating consensus visions and plans internationally.
Bodmin Town Centre, like many other towns across the UK, has suffered with a decline in footfall due to the rise of online shopping and out of town retail centres, coupled with high business rates and the Covid pandemic forcing many businesses to close.
The town centre, despite its historic character and plethora of listed buildings, has lost its significance as a focal point for the town and the community. Today, the town centre is characterised by uninspiring public realm, empty units, poorly maintained buildings, a car dominated high street and a lack of greenery which does not entice people in to explore the town centre, dwell and spend money in the local economy.