Council agrees Craignish community plan

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Published Date: 

8 Mar 2012 - 16:44

A plan drawn together by an Argyll and Bute community regarding its future development aims and priorities has been agreed by councillors.

The Craignish Community Plan, which covers the Craignish peninsula south of Oban, is the first document of its kind.

The plan has been developed by the local community in partnership with the council’s planning policy team.

Councillor Daniel Kelly, chair of the planning, protective services and licensing committee, said the community’s drive and commitment had resulted in a document which potentially could have a profound effect on future development in the local area.

“This is a wonderful example of how a community wishing to influence its own future direction can work in partnership with the council,” he added.

“In the past, the approach to preparing forward planning documents such as the local plan has been for the council to prepare the drafts before asking local communities and individuals to comment on them.

“What we have done with the Craignish community turns this on its head by engaging with local people from the outset to help them develop a community based land use plan which they can fully support.”

“Today’s decision shows that this has been a real success, and I am hopeful that what has been achieved in this case might encourage and inspire other communities across Argyll and Bute to work towards putting together similar plans for their own areas.”

“Such documents will be an important addition to the other forms of community development plans and strategies, all of which seek to deliver the same result – a sustainable economic, social and environmental future for the communities concerned.”

Members of the Craignish community first approached the council in summer 2010 with a view to producing their own plan which would be used to inform the emerging Argyll and Bute local development plan (LDP), due for public consultation this summer.

Community members established their own steering group drawn from a wide spectrum of local interests, and also prepared leaflets to raise awareness within the local community.

An open day was held in the village of Ardfern to determine which issues were most important to local people.  Using the results of this event along with additional data from the council’s planning team, the steering group then undertook a detailed questionnaire to identify local issues, community priorities and help inform a land use plan. This was sent to every household in the Craignish area.

The draft community plan was then drawn up on the basis of the responses received.

Argyll and Bute Council's development policy manager, Fergus Murray, said: "The Craignish area has a complex planning history, and we were happy to accept the community’s request to engage with local people at an early stage regarding what they would like to see happening in the future.

“The result is a document which will be used to inform the decision-making process for future planning applications – initially as non-statutory planning guidance and also to inform the emerging Local Development Plan.

“In addition, the plan can also be used to influence the council and our community planning partners on the priorities of the local community with regards to land use issues and the provision of future facilities such as waste water treatment works.

“We are already working with a number of other rural communities to help them develop their own ideas for future local land use. This process requires significant commitment from both local residents and the planning policy team in order to reach the final goal. I very much hope the achievement of the Craignish community can spur others on to similar success in the future.”