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How communities can get involved

Communities can join in development planning, engage with developers and even prepare a village or town design statement.

Be prepared

Before going to a consultation or engagement exercise, it’s worth doing some preparation.

Knowing what you value about the landscape will help you to explain why your place is important. Think about what makes your landscape special to your community, how you want it to change, and what concerns you have.

It will all help your cause, whether you wish to:

  • generate ideas for projects and landscape objectives for your local development plan
  • take action to improve or protect your local landscape
  • celebrate your local landscape through activities such as art projects
  • encourage people in the community to volunteer to care for your area – e.g. by helping to manage local woodland or plant trees

You can use our Talking About Our Place toolkit to get the conversation started in your community.

If you live in a town or village, you could also prepare a design statement.

You may even wish to prepare a village or parish map, or develop guided walks to help others to understand why you value the local landscape.

Get involved in development planning

Communities often become concerned about landscape change in response to new development proposals.

It helps to get involved in the preparation of your local authority’s development plan. That way, you can help to set landscape objectives and policies for your area. Look out for council-run community participation initiatives.

Find out more about community empowerment and engagement on the Scottish Government website.

Working with developers and planners

Community engagement helps developers and local authorities to:

  • tap into local knowledge
  • explore local issues
  • raise awareness
  • build understanding about development proposals and plans

Your community may be asked to consider what you value about your local landscapes and how you’d like to see them change.

Community involvement can identify:

  • projects for landscape enhancement
  • routes to greenspaces
  • opportunities to enjoy nature in parks and surrounding countryside

Developers or planning authorities will often hold public meetings or workshops as part of a design process called masterplanning. This allows communities to have an early say in proposals that may affect the area.

Find out about Enquiry by Design, one of the techniques developed for this purpose, on the Prince’s Foundation website.

Prepare a design statement

This is a practical tool to help communities influence decisions about design and development in a village or town.

A good design statement will describe the character of your village or town. Planning applications can then be assessed against this to ensure that they respect the local identity.

Glencaple is just one community that took this approach to help guide how the village will evolve.

For more about design statements and similar techniques, see:

Other examples of community engagement