Setting up for success in Pontypridd and delivering well-being outcomes
Since 2015, the construction industry has been considering the application of the Well-being of Future Generations Act. Public bodies covered by the Act, or any private company performing work for them, have a legal duty to demonstrate how their activities serve the seven well-being goals. More recently, Welsh Government have published new Welsh transport appraisal guidance (WelTAG) for how transport programmes are evaluated within the context of well-being and sustainability outcomes.
Previously, practitioners have struggled to develop an approach to integrate the Act into the appraisal process. To overcome this, WELLIE was developed by Mott MacDonald to provide practitioners with a rigorous framework to ensure that projects demonstrate social, economic, environmental and cultural sustainability (Constructing Excellence in Wales :: Giving transport the boot? (cewales.org.uk)).
Well-being Impact Evaluation (WELLIE) Tool sets out a clear step-by-step process to guide well-being analysis through the project lifecycle, from appraisal to delivery, and then monitoring. This process forms a user-friendly ‘live document’ which is being tested and improved across a diversity of transport and regeneration projects.
WELLIE was used in the formation of a town centre masterplan in Pontypridd, South Wales, where its deployment sparked a dialogue between planners, designers, builders, and the community which centred on the wellbeing of the community and desired social outcomes. The result was the development of a package of transport and non-transport measures that improved connectivity, at the same time as enhancing individual and community wellbeing in a broad spectrum of ways. These included improving the vitality of the town centre for the wider community, enhancing leisure and heritage, employment and education opportunities, as well as improving accessibility by sustainable transport. In terms of transport improvements, the study identified active travel opportunities along the River and town centre, by developing pedestrian crossings and overbridges, as well as improving Pontypridd station as a hub to be taken forward.
When we engaged with stakeholders at an initial workshop, they highlighted their ambitions for improving the performance of the local high street and enhancing the visitor experience to local heritage sites. We used WELLIE to bring all these strands together into a sustainable vision for the development of the town centre, in which improved environmental resilience, economic prosperity and cultural heritage could all be supported by a transformation of transport within the town centre. For example, by thinking systemically about the re-routing of visitor parking signage, coach drop-off, and pedestrian crossings, as well as the route hierarchy within the town centre and around the periphery for strategic traffic, we created a package of interventions which have demonstrated beneficial performance in terms of climate impacts as well as wellbeing and sustainability.
Several stakeholder placemaking workshops brought the voices of the community to the heart of scheme development. We asked members of the community what they felt were the town’s greatest strengths and weaknesses, which we then mapped to the 7 Well-being Goals of the Well-being Act. We used a multidisciplinary focus to look beyond transport and think broadly about their vision for the future of their community. We asked stakeholders to formulate the draft scheme objectives based upon this vision, which incorporated the well-being context we had established and long-term trends. We collaborated with The Urbanists architects to translate this vision into a placemaking plan which integrated transport projects within a multidisciplinary plan for the town centre.
Through this approach, we were able to think more broadly about the potential for transport projects to transform the local area and gain greater stakeholder buy-in by involving them in a meaningful way with scheme development. This approach towards stakeholder engagement demonstrated the potential for the 5 Ways of Working to be integrated into the WelTAG process to ensure that projects meet the needs of communities now and in the future.
WELLIE has shown to provide tangible benefits for development in South Wales as a response to the Future Generations (Wales) Act. It’s now time to employ tools like WELLIE more widely by embedding well-being throughout the project lifecycle whether it be RIBA, GRIP, PACE or other bespoke design stages. For example, WELLIE was recently applied across RIBA Stages 0, 1 and 2 for commercial development proposals on long-standing vacant land created from plateauing former industrial land in the South Wales Valleys. Implementation of the WELLIE Tool offers an innovative and engaging way to consult with communities, setting up the construction and delivery of projects for success. The application to Pontypridd’s town centre masterplan has led to outcomes that can be delivery by the construction sector to enhance individual and community well-being.
The WELLIE Tool has been shortlisted for RTPI Cymru Awards for Planning Excellence: RTPI | RTPI Cymru Awards for Planning Excellence
And you can find out more from our team by contacting Brendon Baker, Brendon.Baker@mottmac.com