Several areas have now completed their plans, through a mix of public meetings, events, online and written consultations. Place Plans identify priorities for improvement to the natural and built environment such as public spaces, historic buildings and infrastructure. They are then adopted by East Ayrshire Council as part of the Local Development Plan, so that whenever funding applications are made or services adapted, the views and needs of those who live and work in communities as expressed in their Place Plans have an influence on decision making
And now Kilmarnock’s North West is the latest area to make their own Place Plan. Councillor Jim Roberts, East Ayrshire Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Infrastructure explains: “Placemaking is a relatively new process which has already worked well in the communities which have undergone it. Using extensive discussions with local community groups, businesses and the public and through online consultations and public events, the East Ayrshire Planning and Economic Development Team, assisted by Vibrant Communities, draws up an map which identifies priorities preferred by the community aimed at improving the built and natural environment.
Placemaking helps the Council prioritise resources and eases funding applications by local groups to bodies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund or Historic Environment Scotland. These applications are much more likely to succeed because there’s proof that they are widely supported by the community concerned and formally supported by the council
“As I’ve said many times before, regeneration is about more than doing up old buildings or redeveloping derelict areas, it’s all about making sure we all work together, using initiative and local knowledge, pooling resources and expertise to help change the lives of the people who live and work in a community, improving their wellbeing and boosting local economies. Placemaking works inclusively to play an important role in bringing about welcome, long lasting change for the better and developing strong working relationships between council officers and communities.”