Placemaking – giving communities a say in their own futures

People in Ochiltree and Catrine are leading the way with making important decisions about their villages, making them among the first communities in Scotland to embrace new Placemaking Plans. These have been proposed by the Scottish Government as part of forthcoming changes in the Planning Bill.  East Ayrshire is one of the first local authorities in the country to adopt this new way of planning for the future.

Together with nearby Newmilns, Ochiltree and Catrine are forging ahead with a brand new mapping and consultation process, which gives everyone a chance to decide what needs to be addressed in local communities and draw up a list of priorities for the future.

Called “Placemaking”, the process is a map based representation by the communities of their Community Led Action Plans which identifies areas targeted for improvement. These can be buildings, open spaces, local infrastructure or areas of natural habitat. The communities are supported by the Council in this process, and ultimately the plans will become part of the local development plan, allowing communities to contribute to planning policy which sets out how East Ayrshire will develop over the next 10-20 years.

Councillor Jim Roberts, East Ayrshire Council Cabinet Member for Economy and Infrastructure explains: “This is a new approach that puts the final decision making about what should be addressed in our communities in the hands of those who live and work there. It gives everyone a chance to have a say and look toward in compiling a list of projects they wish to see completed that would improve and enhance the respective communities. Having these projects enshrined in the planning process means they have a real chance of being carried out by attracting funding from the various bodies out there”.

“Examples could be tidying up a riverside footpath and making it more accessible to people with disabilities, improving broadband connectivity, or restoring an historic building. It’s up to the communities to decide what they’d like done first. The consultations are simple to take part in – it can be done through our Placemaking page on the East Ayrshire Council website. Each consultation has a map, showing coloured zones and suggestions for improvements. An online questionnaire allows people to vote on what they think the top priorities should be. Alternatively, the plans can be viewed and commented upon in person at the Council’s Planning Office, Johnnie Walker Bond, Kilmarnock. Once the consultations end, all these votes and any comments will be taken into consideration and finalised Placemaking Plans will be drawn up. These will then be used to guide future decision making in each community”.

“We’re among the first Councils in Scotland to adopt this approach and so far we’re getting very positive responses from those who’re involved.”

Ochiltree Placemaking Consultation which is live now, runs until 3 August. Catrine Placemaking Consultation starts on 16 July and run until 8 September.

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