Hello – Stuart here. I’m the Forward Planning Manager at the National Park.
Now that the first week of our Planning consultation on LIVE Park has passed, I wanted to take some time to reflect on what we’re hearing so far. There’s still plenty of time to get involved, our consultation runs until 7th July.
It has been great to see the interest on Facebook this week. It’s clear people are looking at the information we have posted with a good few are posting their views, comments, or even concerns! Thanks to you all, this discussion is really useful. We would encourage you to complete our online response form as this gets your comments recorded formally as well.
The comments received over on our LIVE Park Facebook page include concern over too much development, the desire to see improvements in services or infrastructure, such as provision for cycling, issues with broadband and the shortage of available business or office premises in Callander.
It highlights the challenges communities face – services and infrastructure available in any one place is typically directly related to the size of the town, village or city. Big towns or cities have a number of public transport options, a range of public services, good broadband, lots of potential options for new development (in most cases!) and premises for businesses, etc. Smaller, more rural places, tend to have fewer options available. However, we all strive to get the most and the best possible for the Park’s communities and its visitors. How do we do it? Well, let’s be honest, there are lots of ways, and quite few people and organisations that need to play their part. So, who does what, and where does Planning fit in?
Planning can be help make a lot of things happen; through directing new development to the right location and requiring it to have the right supporting infrastructure or services. In doing this it steers landowners and investors as to what they can and can’t do on their land. Getting the balance right is critical as it can make or break a ‘viable’ development that provides something we need and makes some money for the landowner (which provides the incentive to do something!).
Planning can also help support improvements in our towns and villages by including what they are in a Local Development Plan. For example we have highlighted a number of improvements throughout the Park’s Town or Village centres (see the Placemaking Priorities in the Main Issues Report). This increases the chances of a problem or opportunity being recognised in the relevant organisation’s (e.g. local Council’s) maintenance or improvement programme (for roads, pavements, cycling or paths improvements, affordable housing etc) and potentially implemented. It can also help a community-led initiative to qualify for grant funding where it would like to find a solution directly with or without public organisations such as the National Park or our local authorities. For example, we’re really proud of the work that the Blairmore Village Trust undertook to make better use of the disused land next to their Village Hall. The Village Trust led the process, and through the Scottish Government’s Charrette Mainstreaming Programme, the National Park were pleased to be able to support the local community who used a ‘charrette’ (or design-led workshop) process to decide what they wanted to see the land used for, and how that might look.
Sketches from the Blairmore ‘charrette’
I hope these updates are useful? We’d welcome your comments or thoughts on any topics you’d like us to cover off in future blog posts. In the mean time, keep your comments coming via our Facebook or Twitter pages.
Stuart and the LIVE Park team.