Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park’s innovative Local Development Plan secured a Scottish Award for Quality in Planning at one of the government’s most prestigious events last night (8th November).
The accolade comes on the eve of the Plan’s ‘adoption’ as the legal document against which all planning decisions in the National Park are made.
The award-winning Plan (called LIVE Park as it is all about making the National Park a great place to Live, Invest, Visit and Experience) covers the period 2017 – 2027 and sets out a vision for how the National Park should change over the next 20 years and the strategy needed to deliver the physical development. It identifies new opportunities and the development needed to support the Park’s communities, visitors and local economy, whilst ensuring the ongoing conservation and enjoyment of the area’s outstanding natural environment.
The Park Authority won an award in the Plans category, for “Bringing the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Development Plan to Life.” The Scottish Award for Quality in Planning recognises the innovative approach taken by the Park Authority in making the new plan a visual, simple and user friendly document. The judges for this year’s Awards said:
“The Judges have given this an Award because of the simplicity, clarity and graphic style adopted for the Local Development Plan. The document had a strong sustainable approach towards shaping the ‘place’. There had been a lot of attention paid to getting the right balance of text and images – with an emphasis on the latter. Plus, the plan was simply themed by sustainability, climate change, design and placemaking. Overall, the Judges felt that the Plan pushed the agenda in terms of setting a precedent for Plan-making.”
Following the awards ceremony Stuart Mearns, Head of Planning and Rural Development for the National Park said:
“Winning this award just at the moment when we are about to adopt our Proposed Local Development Plan, is a wonderful recognition of the dedicated, creative work done by the team over the past few years to work with all communities and stakeholders to establish an approach to planning for the future of the Park which reflects their needs and aspirations.
“Through our LIVE Park project, we aimed to deliver a new style of Development Plan with the planning content communicated clearly to a wider audience. We did this by actively seeking the involvement of people and organisations that may not normally input into the planning development process, by doing a wide range of face-to-face events and by offering ways for people to get involved online. We worked with people ranging from high school pupils and parents to small businesses and community groups. The Local Development Plan that emerged from this process, is one that represents the diverse aspirations, needs, sensitivities and opportunities that are essential to good quality development in the special environment of our National Park.”
This LIVE Park approach is already being used as an effective tool to aid development investment and delivery in the Park, and the Balloch charrette, held earlier this year and delivered with partner organisations and the local community, is testament to this with improvements to active travel networks and the public realm already being investigated with support from SUSTRANS through their Community Links Project and £1.2M investment funding from West Dunbartonshire Council.
The award comes just at the point when the Park Authority is in the final stages of the new Plan coming into effect. Public notices are appearing in all local papers this week to let the public know that the Plan will be formally ‘adopted’ in December. This follows the recent approval by the National Park Board of the modifications made to the plan by Scottish Government Reporters, following their independent examination of the unresolved representations made to it. When the Plan is adopted in December it will replace the current Local Plan and become the legal document that is used by the Park Authority’s planning officers and Planning Committee, to determine all planning decisions in the National Park.
The Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning celebrates achievements in planning, right from the detail of processing through to the bigger picture of creating places that will become the legacy of planning professionalism.
This year’s Award built upon last year’s success at the 2015 Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning, where The National Park Authority won the Overall Award of the night for its innovative approach to consultation on the LIVE Park (Local Development Plan) Main Issues Report and won the Award in the Development Management category for its work in supporting the delivery of run-of-river hydro-electric schemes.