Local decision making in East Ayrshire took another step forward as the Council’s Cabinet approved the consultation for supplementary guidance on Placemaking for Ochiltree and Catrine as part of the East Ayrshire Local Development Plan 2017 (EALDP).
Placemaking, introduced by the Scottish Government, is a new process, which makes sure decisions about infrastructure and improvements in communities are made with a full consultation process, putting the views of local people at the heart of any new plans. And Ochiltree and Catrine are amongst the first places in East Ayrshire go through this process which allows local residents and business owners to have an input into the priorities for action in their local built and natural environment.
Many communities in the area have been involved in drawing up Community Led Action Plans in recent years, the Placemaking process leads on from this, with the creation of a map outlining priority areas for upgrading and improvement which is used as a basis for public consultations held with a combination of community events, exhibitions and online questionnaires.
For Ochiltree and Catrine four engagement meetings with walkabouts were held with a few community representatives. This enabled the placemaking team to identify and agree the nature and location of the main priorities.
Community representatives were then invited to a “Talking Pictures” exercise, where over 70 slides were shown and comments recorded. Feedback from internal council stakeholders, East Ayrshire Leisure Trust and Ayrshire Roads Alliance was then sought fed into the mapping exercise which was then put out to public consultation.
For Ochiltree, there is a strong focus on streetscape, with suggestions for reducing the impact of HGV traffic, improving safety and appearance, scoring highly. Walking and cycling routes are also favoured, with the Church Hall and Community Centre proving popular choices for action. Broadband speed and improvements to parking and green spaces are also frequently mentioned in the comments.
In Catrine, the rich architectural and industrial heritage features as a strong driver for protection of the historic core. Improvements to housing on St Cuthbert’s Street, four gap sites, the AM Brown Institute and the former Corner Bar came in for particular scrutiny.
Walking and cycling, in particular due to Catrine’s proximity to the River Ayr Way also attracted strong comment with plans to improve civic space in both the centre and in the housing estate to the east of the village.
Comments from the formal consultation will now be finalised by both the Council and community representatives and a finalised placemaking map with associated actions will be presented as supplementary guidance to the Local Development Plan for final approval by Cabinet.
Following this, the supplementary guidance will be submitted to Scottish Government Ministers for consideration and eventual adoption.
Councillor Jim Roberts, Cabinet Member for Economy and Infrastructure said: “Placemaking has been a heartening process, bringing together council and community to look closely at what direction we all want our communities to take.
“Once the supplementary guidance is ratified, it will become an integral part of our Local Development Planning process, meaning that the priorities laid out in the plans will be taken into consideration and inform every step of our planning decision making. Having the plans in place will also make applying for funding and making cases for improvements easier both for ourselves and the communities we support.
“The people of Ochiltree and Catrine have been very active in this process and it’s clear they have a great passion for the places where they live and work, Placemaking captures that passion and gives it a place in our minds and plans. We’re all looking forward to seeing their progress and also working with other communities to see them through the process in the future.And there’s still time for people to have their say. I would encourage anyone with an interest in these communities to look at these proposals and submit further comments.”
Read the Council’s report on Ochiltree and Catrine Placemaking consultation