Engage communities, not just community councils

Engaging with members of communities is important but this should not be mistaken for engaging only with community councils and calling it a day. Community councils push to have themselves recognised as statutory consultees for all development, as can be seen in the responses to the previous review consultation. I cannot help but think this is due to a desire to pursue their own self-interests, given that community councils so frequently appear to elect anti-development NIMBYs who will stand in the way of any development, regardless of the potential economic and social benefits to the wider community.

The use of online tools allows planning authorities to reach a much wider audience than they could previously expect to. This means that individuals, particularly those of a younger generation who development may have the largest impact on, can be consulted on prospective plans and development.

Why the contribution is important

Planning authorities need to get creative with their community engagement. Relying on community councils, which are outdated and frequently do not share the views of the communities they supposedly represent, creates a problem for everybody who wishes to see sustainable development take place.

by switcheroo on February 08, 2016 at 08:37PM

Current Rating

Average score : 4.0
Based on : 11 votes


  • Posted by BKerrSmith February 13, 2016 at 17:34

    I am strongly in favour of engaging whole communities but regret that switcheroo seems to think that community councils are self-interested. From my own experience, that is a badly misguided assumption. If community councils don't represent their communities, it is very easy to turf them out - you probably wouldn't need more than a dozen supporters who agree with your views, in most cases. I voted for this proposal despite the slur on community councils, as it is a sound proposal.
  • Posted by SeanieRW February 14, 2016 at 17:18

    That you wouldn't need more than a dozen people who support you to turf out a Community Council and take it over , demonstrates how woefully un-democratic and non-representative most Community Councils are.
  • Posted by Cygnet February 17, 2016 at 15:56

    You will never engage whole communities. Look at what happens with voting in elections. When have you ever seen 100% turnout? Most have too many other things on their minds like work and keeping their life afloat and looking after their families to get embroiled in all the lawmaking and regulations, and consultations etc.
    Community Councillors volunteer their time to do some of it and they can only be guided by what they know or can learn.
  • Posted by Geo February 20, 2016 at 10:34

    The not in my back yard principle has merit and should be taken into account as those living within an area that is to be developed are the most affected by the changes in infrastructure, traffic levels and population density and the like but their opinions seem to be the least considered.
  • Posted by Badger February 25, 2016 at 23:51

    Much of what has been already said is true. However, many communities do not have a Community Council and therefore do not benefit from the information routinely provided to CC's. Also, the current proposals to close many libraries is a big negative step away from engagement with communities.
    In many planning situations, local communities can see issues at the early stages of considering suitable sites for development and this should be nurtured, not stymied.
    The ring-fencing of (government?) funding, such as for infrastructure, within the strategy of Local Development Plans, along with local councillors and community engagement could, potentially, be of benefit towards achieving preferred development sites in the right places.
  • Posted by JohnColledge February 29, 2016 at 08:43

    You don’t have to be a NIMBY for an application to go pear-shaped and mess up your life. We actively supported an application that replaced the previous acknowledged planning disaster next to us. Local residents and our Planning Committee were led to believe the larger development, (flats) that replaced it would be built further away and we would be better off. Despite advising of anomalies in the application in advance, it was actually built closer, caused structural damage to some properties and the approved landscaping was removed. Seven years later one member of the Planning Committee finally acknowledged that mistakes had been made.

    Despite our best efforts, we cannot get anyone to take the steps required to ensure that no one else in Edinburgh will suffer as we have.
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