Community bids must always be considered

It sounds obvious, but the ludicrous situation in which a community bid was the only proposition on the table for Leith Waterworld, was approved by elected councillors only to be overturned by city planners must never happen again.

The official line was that the community bid was not properly costed, but unelected officials should never stand in the way of a community having control of its assets, especially when they are supported by their elected representatives. 

Quite simply, the entire Leith Waterworld saga was operated in the interests of commercial enterprise at the expense of democracy.

 

Why the contribution is important

While a local authority has a responsibility to encourage economic activity, if it favours that economic activity at the expense of community control then it has a negative effect on wider health and well being outcomes, according to former Chief Medical Officer Sir Harry Burns.

This has often been the case with a loss of civic and public green space.

by TomFreeman on February 19, 2016 at 05:12PM

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Comments

  • Posted by Nastashima February 19, 2016 at 21:04

    I agree. The community who live and work in the area subject to planning have a deep understanding of how the space could be used to benefit all who live there - or the benefits a particular development could bring. If a community is moved to take things into

     their own hands and make a bid - the reasons behind it should be respected and given fair hearing.
  • Posted by gdavis February 21, 2016 at 21:15

    Completely agree. Community members will be aware of what the community needs and are best placed to improve their own areas. Community empowerment.
  • Posted by switcheroo February 22, 2016 at 21:06

    Of course elected councillors will support a community bid even if it is doomed to fail. They gain political capital and have nothing to lose. Councillors supporting a bid does not mean that the bid is well thought-out, or in this case has been correctly costed.

    I feel a number of people forget that these aren't just unelected officials working in planning departments. They are people who have chosen to do this for a career, and therefore should have the relevant knowledge and skills to be able to assess a community bid fairly and reasonably. Just because the outcome is not one that those putting the bid together desire does not make it incorrect.
  • Posted by SeanieRW February 26, 2016 at 01:05

    The rejection of the Leith Waterworld proposals had nothing to do with the planning system at all, nor was it "approved by elected councillors only to be overturned by city planners".

    A proposal for it to be community run was rejected by elected Councillors on financial grounds, although the campaigners were invited to put in a revised bid. But before that could be put together the Council received a bid from a commercial operator to open it as a soft-play facility, which elected Councillors decided to accept.
  • Posted by JohnColledge February 28, 2016 at 22:37

    Re 'switcheroo's comment above: 'They are people who have chosen to do this for a career, and therefore should have the relevant knowledge and skills'. We were told that those dealing with three different applications next to us would be educated to degree standard.

    Yet senior members of staff were unable to clarify what was being applied for and what the Planning Committee had approved. Enforcement officers disagreed with Planning Committee members, the developers and SPSO. One Head of Planning either didn’t know or failed to mention that the Council had no legal authority to include a landscaping condition in one of them. Despite it being ‘clarified’ in one application that the landscaping would remain untouched it was demolished. This was considered to be acceptable by the SPSO as CEC had always done this.

    These are the public servants who make decisions that can and do adversely affect members of the public. Yet no one will take ownership of these issues and ensure that the obvious failure to provide a service, (far less the deliberate malpractice involved) is addressed. Nor will they make the changes to ensure the planning system complies with the Planning Charters.
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