From patchwork to tapestry: Overcoming barriers to planning for long-term stewardship in existing communities 

Cover Image. A man and a women in a community garden in Southwark.

Long-term stewardship is one of the core Garden City Principles and is key to securing healthy, thriving communities with the spaces, places, and infrastructure they need to flourish in perpetuity. The TCPA’s guidance and toolkit on long-term stewardship have emphasised the need for new developments to think about stewardship from the start of the development process. However, there is increasing recognition that this is not always possible, and there are many instances where stewardship may need to be ‘retrofitted’ to existing arrangements.   

Our new report, “From patchwork to tapestry,” aims to capture and share the emerging lessons from places that are ‘retrofitting’ long-term stewardship. The contexts in which retrofitting stewardship occurs can be vastly different, from new housing developments with a patchwork of existing planning permissions and management companies to council-led estate regeneration projects. In this report, we draw out common lessons from these experiences to help those seeking to achieve holistic, whole-place approaches to stewardship in different contexts. 

This report explores these lessons through the following: 

  • An overview of the challenges of retrofitting stewardship. 
  • Case studies from places working on retrofitting stewardship. 
    • Chichester Community Development Trust 
    • Ebbsfleet Garden City Trust 
    • Southwark Council “Great Estates” Programme 
  • An overview of the key themes and recommendations from the case studies and wider research. 
  • Identifying areas for further research and exploration. 

This report is intended for practitioners. It is aimed primarily at local authorities, but we hope it will also be useful for developers, community organisations and anyone engaged in planning for long-term stewardship. This report should be read alongside the TCPA’s existing guidance, which provides introductory information on long term stewardship and in-depth information about best practice.  

Toolkit: Long-term stewardship in new communities. The TCPA has produced a series of practical online resources to assist those who are planning for long-term stewardship in their area. View the toolkit.