After 9 weeks of the LIVE Park consultation our small team has covered a lot of meetings and events from local community council meetings to going along to Callander Youth Project’s Gala Day, the Drymen Show and even taking the LIVE Park message to visitors to Edinburgh’s Royal Highland Show.
It’s really great to see your views coming in more and more as the deadline for consultation responses looms. After 5pm on Monday 7 July we’ll begin the process of sorting through what everyone’s said and considering how to respond to that feedback.
What we’ve heard when we have been out and about has generally been very positive about the overall need to think ahead to the future needs of communities, visitors and businesses. The need to think more about services, amenities and infrastructure has been clear, however we must be conscious that this is not solely a planning matter. No one has disagreed on the need for ensure that we protect and enhance the Park. However, it is always a more difficult conversation over where new development should go. There has been some comment that we are proposing to be too supportive of development. But if you look at the recently published Scottish Planning Policy, it is clear that the Scottish Government expects sustainable economic growth to be supported. If we don’t plan for new development, it will happen anyway – we think it is better to plan for it (and our latest blog explains why).
The challenge for us is that we typically hear from those who don’t like a proposal, rather than when people support a proposal. We wanted to change that, and to make it easier for people to have their say, regardless of whether they were supportive of or had concerns about a proposal. That’s why we’ve provided lots of different ways for people to have their say about LIVE Park.
So far, two proposals in particular have generated the greatest amount of debate and comment. These are:
In order to explain some of the questions that were coming up about the development proposed for Drymen, we went along to the community council meeting and we also wrote a blog post too. In response to these blogs we received some really good feedback, both supporting the development and raising concerns about it.
We know that there is a shortage of low cost family housing in the National Park, but typically those that need a house won’t come forward and support proposals. Also, it is not uncommon for those who live next to/or close to a potential housing site to raise concerns over development and object to the proposal. Interestingly, we’ve had both types of comments coming through on the Drymen blog posts, so thank you for those who took the time to do that. There’s still time to have your say if you haven’t already.
To try and secure a wider view we have been using Facebook, Twitter and working with our young people to make it easier for everyone to find a way to comment that works for them. In addition to those we regularly work with in communities and their organisations, this has allowed a broader cross-section of our communities to have their say. It has been interesting to see just how visible our social media has been, and the impact it has in terms of encouraging comments either on Facebook or Twitter, or by directing people to our website where they’ve then left a comment for us to consider.
Planning is about balancing the wider public interest, bearing in mind planners are neither developer or community. This means we might not all agree with planning decisions, but is important to provide your views.
So please, we encourage you to get in touch to let us know what you think, and to encourage your family and friends to do the same before our consultation deadline next Monday, 7 July at 5pm.