The Improvement Service and Geoxphere have launched an easy mapping tool that will enable Scottish Community Councils and other community interest groups to map what is important to them and use these insights to have more of a say in what happens in their local areas.
The Parish Online tool, which is already used widely across the parish communities in England and Wales, has been adapted for Scotland and will be useful in enabling communities to easily create Local Place Plans, a legislative mechanism to have their views considered for councils’ Local Development Plans.
It incorporates many useful and interesting datasets about the environment, pollution, planning, transport and community features, and will also enable anyone to look at how far they can travel from any point in their neighbourhood in 5, 10 or 15 minutes by different modes of transport. This will be of great interest as the Scottish Government looks to promote the 20-minute neighbourhood concept.
It could also be a useful way for community groups to engage with their citizens and highlight specific areas of interest or concern in their local areas.
Chris Mewse, Managing Director of Parish Online, commented:
“It’s great to be able to launch the Community Map Scotland project. It’s something we’ve been keen to do for a long time, and we’re excited to start helping Community Councils create their Local Place Plans using our free mapping software.
“Community Councils are best-placed to decide what should happen in their local area as they have the local knowledge. They know what floods, they know where traffic forms, and they know the social and economic issues that local residents are facing. Harnessing that local knowledge into a forward-plan across the hundreds of councils across Scotland is going to be great to see.”
The tool will be available for free initially with the likelihood of a small subscription fee in future years. Community Councils can sign up to be part of the Community Map Scotland project by going to www.parish-online.co.uk/scotland and using the code cms12 when they sign up. This will give them 12 months of free access to the software.