In February and March, we worked with West Dunbartonshire Council and Scottish Enterprise to run a design ‘charrette’ (a series of intensive workshops that get local people involved in the design of their community).
The aim of the ‘charrette’ was to involve people like you who live, work, visit and invest in the area in planning what future development in Balloch might look like. Giving you the opportunity to put forward ideas and suggestions on how to improve the village and benefit from its status as a visitor attraction.
The approach to the Charrette engagement was driven by the objective of maximising awareness, attendance and participation of working age people, families and young people in Balloch and the Vale of Leven. To achieve that objective, the team engaged with a broad range of local school pupils, youth groups, businesses, individual residents, community groups, social enterprises and public agencies using a number of different techniques. The three primary means of engagement were targeted engagement in advance of the Charrette, the Charrette workshops themselves, all supported by an online campaign. An advisory group of key local stakeholders was established to help ensure that the Charrette engagement and communications strategies were as effective as possible. Pre-Charrette: targeted contact with specific groups. The 2 months leading up to the Charrette (January-February 2016) included visits to:
In addition a Business Breakfast was organised to provide customer-facing businesses in the village centre and Loch Lomond Shores an opportunity to discuss the future of the village from their perspective. One-to-one discussions were also held with a number of local businesses throughout the public engagement sessions. These various sessions were useful in identifying future priorities from groups of people whose perspectives might not emerge during evening Charrette workshops. Outputs from these sessions, such as display boards and posters produced by schools, were displayed at the Charrette workshops; and comments and priorities were fed into the workshop discussions and design process.
Charrette workshops were well attended with over 250 people attending the 3 drop-in sessions, 3 workshops and the exhibition session held at the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Headquarters.
The ideas shared and discussed during these sessions, in conjunction with the comments received via social media, formed the foundation for this report. The Charrette took place over 4 days, spaced apart between 29 February to 22 March 2016. The first three days consisted of daytime drop-in sessions (12pm-2pm) followed by evening workshops (7pm) that combined presentations with group discussions. The final day was run as a staffed exhibition between 12pm and 8pm, with plenty of time for one-to-one discussion.
Detailed comments were recorded at each session by the Charrette team and participants through interactive activities, worksheets and post-its. Over the course of these successive sessions, an agenda for the future of Balloch emerged, followed by initial proposals to translate that agenda into reality, and then testing and refinement of those initial proposals.
The Charrette team used the time between sessions to consider comments made at the sessions, research, refine and test emerging proposals.