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Community involvement in the planning process

We encourage communities to engage in the planning process through the following initiatives:

Planning Aid for Scotland (PAS)

We provided a grant of £237,000 in 2015 and 2016 to support the core activities of Planning Aid for Scotland (PAS). PAS provides independent advice and training on planning and environmental matters and encourages public engagement with the planning process.

Assessing the standard of places

The Place Standard Assessment tool is a tool for assessing quality of place. The Place Standard provides a simple framework to structure conversations about place and focuses on social as well as physical characteristics.

Users answer 14 questions and the answers are plotted in a simple diagram which represents a qualitative evaluation of a place. The results can help to promote collaboration and stimulate conversation about how the physical and social environment can reduce inequalities around health and wellbeing.

The Place Standard has been developed in partnership between Scottish Goverment, NHS Health Scotland and Architecture & Design Scotland. The Tool is one of the outcomes of our Creating Places strategy (2013) and is based on a recommendation in 2008's Good Places, Better Health implementation plan.

'Charrette' community design workshops

We are encouraging greater public involvement in the design of places by providing funding for community workshops, or 'charrettes'.

These events enable the community, industry and public bodies to work directly with professional designers and experts to generate a specific vision, masterplan and action plan. The collaborative nature of charrettes allows the wider social and economic issues of the community to be considered alongside physical design issues.

Forty-eight charrettes have been funded since 2011. Of the 17 charrettes funded during 2015 and 2016, eight were commissioned directly by communities.

A new round of funding for the period 2016 to 2017 was made available to help community groups, local authorities and third sector organisations improve the design of their areas. The two types of fund are the Design Charette fund and the Activating Ideas fund. Applications to these funds have now closed.

Town Centre planning pilots and toolkit

We published the Town Centre Action Plan: the Scottish Government response to the National Review of Town Centres in November 2014. The Plan explains how we are helping to bring a positive focus to town centres.

The Action Plan shows the need for simple, encouraging and pro-active planning policy to support vibrant town centres. We have provided £119,000 of funding since 2014, as well as support and guidance to nine councils for the Town Centre Planning Pilots Programme. This resulted in 14 projects which identified innovative ideas to support town centres and ways to share this learning.

The Scotland's Towns Partnership website has more information on the Town Centre Planning Pilots.

The Town Centre Toolkit provides information and advice on making town centres more attractive, active and accessible. It was launched in April 2015 and is hosted at the Scotland's Towns Partnership website.