Seventeen projects in urban, rural and island communities are receiving a share of a £300,000 fund aimed at giving people a say on how their area can be improved.

Increased funding for the Charrette Mainstreaming Programme will go to eight community-led and nine local authority schemes in areas including Tiree, Erskine, Peterhead and Arbroath.

Charrettes are interactive design workshops which take place over several days, bringing the public and stakeholders together with a design team to develop a community masterplan.

The events bring together designers, specialists, local service providers and local people into a single forum, and this enables them to hear and understand each other’s concerns, priorities, and constraints, and plan for the future

Projects that have been supported through the £300,000 funding include the Rothesay charrette which is looking at how it can improve links between the town centre and the waterfront, and the Arbroath charrette which is calling for views on regenerating the town centre and considering how to improve connections between the two main visitor attractions – Arbroath Abbey and the harbour.

In Blairgowrie, the charrette is looking at ways of revitalising the town centre and improving service delivery for the elderly and disadvantaged.

Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment Marco Biagi announced the funding allocations on a visit to the Cupar Could charrette yesterday.

He said: “From Tiree to Greenock, charrettes are giving people the chance to be involved in plans for their communities – literally at the drawing board. They give people a chance to take part rather than just being consulted. Who better to understand the issues and opportunities in an area than the people who live there?

“In Cupar we have seen representatives from all parts of the community and with different levels of expertise and interest come together to brainstorm and think of creative ideas to improve their local facilities and bring a buzz back into the area.

“Planning plays an important role in creating safer and more pleasant places in Scotland which are more sustainable and attract investment so I am particularly pleased that we have seen so many community groups come forward directly with ambitions to improve their environments and receive funding to run their own charrettes.”

Organised by the Cupar Development Trust, Cupar Could is involving businesses, property owners, local interest groups and the wider community and considering how it can enhance the town centre while protecting its heritage.

David Kirk, Chairman of Cupar Development Trust said: “The success of our charrette – Cupar Could – has depended on a lot of behind-the-scenes effort.

“The grant we secured from the Scottish Government’s Charrette Mainstreaming Programme enabled us to commission planning experts PAS and with the benefit of their considerable experience, sound arrangements for Cupar’s charrette were made. This has included bringing leaders of local groups and organisations together in our charrette steering group.

“The grant has funded our access to a team of town development specialists who are engaging in productive conversations with community members. The good ideas which come out of these conversations will help the steering group to form an effective town centre action plan.”

Source: North Edinburgh News

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