Communities and design specialists can get together to come up with ways to improve local areas through a £300,000 scheme.
Funding for the Charrette Mainstreaming Programme has been increased this year to encourage even more communities across the country to have a say on shaping and planning their town centres and neighbourhoods.
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.
This means the programme goes considerably further than standard consultation processes because local people are encouraged to be involved in the practical side of the design and planning process.
These events help to identify and make best use of local opportunities and support the delivery of inspiring environments and places with real character. The process produces high quality visual material that is easily understood in contrast to dry reports and written plans.
One of the great values of charrettes is that they draw 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. The process is fast and helps to produce better co-ordinated and widely supported outcomes.
To date, over 30 projects have been organised with the help of funding from the Scottish Government. For example, the charrette in Tranent town centre allowed the community to consider a range of linked issues and develop solutions. Topics that were tackled included issues connected to traffic around the centre, identifying and making more of the town’s heritage, improving visual quality and supporting economic growth for local businesses.
For the 2015-16 programme, grants of broadly around £10,000 to £20,000 are open for applications by community groups, third sector organisations, local authorities and anyone involved with the design, planning or delivery of regeneration projects or new developments.
“We want to see communities up and down the country apply”
Minister for Local Government and Community Empowerment Marco Biagi said: “The Scottish Government is funding this programme again this year because we know how much energy can be unleashed by communities taking part in the planning and design decisions for their own neighbourhoods.
“We want to see communities up and down the country apply for these grants and to participate in the programme, as it is local people who are best placed to understand, identify and promote the opportunities that lie within cities, town centres or villages. Empowering communities in the planning process means better, safer and more attractive places to live that are more sustainable and also more likely to attract investment.
“The Charrette Mainstreaming Programme complements activity being taken forward under the Town Centre Action Plan and the Town Centre First Principle and will also drive forward our objectives to reduce our carbon footprint and create a healthier, more enterprising Scotland.
“This approach of involving communities in decisions about the places where they live and work ties in with our Fairer Scotland discussion which asks people to come forward with their own views, ideas and opinions on what they think should be done to make Scotland better for everyone, rather than just being asked to comment on proposals that have already been drawn up.”