Community Engagement

As an active volunteer with PAS, I would welcome the introduction and use of charrettes within consultation processes. Charrettes present a more accessible and engaging method for inclusive public engagement.  However, I am wary about the impact and results of these exercises. I think communities deserve to see the results of their efforts (including positive change within their communities happening as an outcome) which I don’t see happening at the moment.

Why the contribution is important

I see community engagement as a pivotal process within planning in Scotland. I think charrettes offer an innovative engagement strategy, but I feel that more could be done so that communities can see results of their participation.

by kdonnelly on February 04, 2016 at 09:36AM

Current Rating

Average score : 3.2
Based on : 9 votes


  • Posted by Stevep February 04, 2016 at 09:48

    Charettes are great - but they are labour intensive and expensive to undertake so you have to be sure you'll get a good return for the effort involved. To date the Scottish Government seems fixated on charettes for LDP work - but that's where they have least effect. Far better for charettes to be undertaken when masterplanning a site - such as part of a consultation into a major development by a developer.
    Currently there are few, if any, standards by which developer consultations are measured
  • Posted by jomac February 04, 2016 at 13:21

    Agree with stevep.

    Charrettes introduce further delay in to an already long drawn out process of LDP preparation and review (which needs to change). If community engagement is to have any value, it needs to be after a decision has taken place on the best location for development which is driven by the development industry and public sector organisations (decision-makers) to ensure sustainable economic growth is achieved and the economy is driven forward, not delayed by communities who think that they can continually challenge the principle of development again and again, causing delays. At the Masterplanning stage, the value local communities can give is based on their local knowledge and a sense of involvement in shaping the new communities to be created.
  • Posted by communitycouncillor February 04, 2016 at 14:44

    Jomac obviously does not accept democracy. There is a democratic deficit in the planning system which favours developers and he obviously supports this. It is the local community which has to live with major new developments and they have more right to have a say in the process, and know more about local constraints, than developers or distant decision makers. If the planning system is to have credibility communities need a credible role in decision making from the start of the plan-making process.
  • Posted by SimonB February 06, 2016 at 12:05

    Aye, my experience of Charrettes® are that they've been just another charade to obfuscate the process and give the pretence of some fig leaf democratic community engagement just like the PAN consultations. The dollar speaks louder than representative democracy and 'developers' invariably get their way, as the simmering fury of the public mood attests, to those who care enough and have the time to listen.

    Any honest scheme that has a ® or TM attached to it, such as promoted by PAS, is highly dubious in a cynical world.

    Proper participation, with a presumption in favour of the community and NOT the 'development', an opportunity for the community to grade the level of satisfaction with the process, the option of a Community Right of Appeal if a reasonable petition can be raised in objection etc etc

    Anyone who promotes "sustainable economic growth" on a finite planet, pandering to the amoral, insatiable mantra of the current economic paradigm (which unlike the real world is actually a CONstruct, serving the interests and perpetuating the power of the so called 'elite'), must surely recognise that true sustainable development and the Principles of Public Office decree that communities and future generations are given the HIGHEST consideration and not so called 'developers' interests, which are not motivated primarily by public good and moral thinking.

    Food, clothing and shelter... basic economics: there's more than enough of this for every human being on Planet Earth. It is the disgrace and fundamental failing of our current political and economic system that is at fault, and the last thing we need is "sustainable economic growth" to address this when we appear to be heading towards ecological collapse.[…]in-public-life-nolan-report[…]/idea-view
  • Posted by dwp1951 February 08, 2016 at 17:46

    Sorry Jomac that is just the sort of arrogance that communities have come to expect from developers . As long as the LDP process is dominated and driven by profit orientated landowners and developers there will always a reaction from communities.

    The whole process is skewed to professionals at the expense of communities and that needs to change. It creates an adversarial process which as so often is the case does not deliver for either, except that in the end the developers usually get something like what they want - because they have the time, money and expertise to play the system.

    As currently structured the developer only has to win once but the community has to win every time.

    Put simply planning is something that is done to communities but not for communities

  • Posted by cba1 February 14, 2016 at 18:28

    It's nearly 40 years since Douglas Adams wrote the first episode of the Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy and in my experience the attitude of planners to community involvement has bared moved on.

    "All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for 50 of your Earth years, so you’ve had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it’s far too late to start making a fuss about it now."

    What I find particularly frustrating is that the RTPI has an excellent document on how to undertake effective community involvement and consultation.

    Good effective engagement is very straightforward to do. Unfortunately it's even easier to do it wrong or badly.
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