David McAllister from PAS writes about Your Kirkwall, a new community engagement project in Orkney.
Over the next 8 months, Orkney Islands Council will be preparing a new plan for Kirkwall. Rather than do it alone, it wants to make sure the plan is what the community wants.
Local people might have ideas they’d like to see happen – or you might even have a project you want to do yourself.
Your Kirkwall is a series of community conversations and events where people are encouraged to come together to discuss and share ideas for the future of Kirkwall over the next 10-20 years – to help improve Kirkwall as a place to live, work and visit.
The project aims to involve residents, schools, community groups, local businesses, voluntary organisations, the council, and others. It will feed into a Community Action Plan and guide Council planning / design / transportation policies for Kirkwall in future.
Your Kirkwall’ is a community led exercise delivered by Orkney Islands Council and a community-focused charity called PAS, working together to facilitate the process and ensure that the future vision for Kirkwall is an inclusive one.
What is the Urban Design Framework?
The Urban Design Framework is significant to the future of Kirkwall – it will establish a coordinated approach to planning and development in the Town for the next 10-20 year period. This includes new infrastructure, the planning and design of future development in and around the town, conservation of existing buildings, provision of open space and opportunities to walk and cycle, potential community projects, and anything else that will improve Kirkwall as a place to live, work and visit in the future.
Many of the elements of the existing Kirkwall Urban Design Framework have been successfully implemented since it was prepared in 2009. The time has therefore come to renew that document, particularly since significant external grant funding has been secured from the Scottish Government’s Smarter Choices, Smarter Places (SCSP) fund.
The aim is that the new Framework will reflect community aspirations and will include projects and proposals which could be implemented not only by the Council, but also, significantly, by the local community – reflected in the early community participation in updating the Framework.
What’s going to happen?
PAS, a planning/educational charity and social enterprise, will be assisting the Council with this review, and will bring expertise in community engagement to the project. PAS supports people to understand and influence the places where they live through skills training, education, facilitation and community events – enabling everyone to take part in placemaking.
Over the next 6-8 months PAS will be engaging with the community by listening to and meeting with a variety of local people including residents, young people, community groups, local businesses, developers, landowners, industries, key agencies, NHS Orkney, the Council and others to share ideas, set priorities, and create a shared 5, 10, 20 year vision for Kirkwall.
The public workshops will be held in two phases, initially on 22-23 November 2017 (to identify the local community’s long term aspirations for Kirkwall) and then, following a period for the PAS team to develop draft proposals which respond to those aspirations, a second phase on 26-27 January 2018 to test draft proposals with the local community. A workshop feedback report will be prepared to reflect the outcomes of this engagement.
The draft Urban Design Framework document will then be prepared and published for public consultation for six weeks in spring 2018, following which it will be finalised and presented to the Council for approval in early summer 2018. It is also anticipated that a Community Action Plan will be produced at this stage.