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Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning 2003 Applications

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Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning 2003

Application form

This application form can either be completed by hand or electronically (pdf version) on the Planning homepage at www.scotland.gov.uk/planning . Please complete all four questions. The deadline is 12 September 2003. An acknowledgement letter will be sent to the person who has completed this form.

Please provide a name and contact details of the organisation responsible for this work. If partners were involved, identify the lead organisation, and then list the other partners/bodies who had a key role.

Name

Cathy Johnston

Job title

Team Leader

Organisation

North Lanarkshire Council

Address

Environment Projects, Fleming House, Cumbernauld, G67 1JW

Telephone

01236 616251

Fax

01236616232

Email

johnstonc@northlan.gov.uk

Name of key partners (if appropriate)

1 Glenboig Environment Group

2 Scottish Enterprise Lanarkshire

3 CSFT

4 SNH/Paths for All

Tick the category of nomination

Development Control

Development Plans

Development on the Ground

Title of entry

Glenboig Village Park

Please complete the form by providing a brief summary (in no more than the space provided) of the piece of work you have entered. You must also conclude, with a key reason, as to why you think this work merits an Award.

Please tick the key criteria which relate to this entry:

Professional knowledge

Innovation

Management

Sustainable development

Partnership

Community interest

Regeneration

Customer satisfaction

You must describe in your written submission (below) how the criteria which you have ticked relates to your project.

Description of project

In 1999, North Lanarkshire Council and the Glenboig and North Central Environmental Group agreed that there was a need to develop a flagship environmental regeneration project that would improve the quality of life for the people of Glenboig.

Gamqueen Loch was identified as an appropriate location to deliver this objective as it provided significant opportunities to increase its value as an area of under-utilised open space which seemed to function only as a physical barrier between local communities.

At the same time it was recognised that a Village Park could also deliver wider Community Planning objectives in Glenboig and act as the catalyst for local social and economic improvements. The hope behind this being that it could address the decline that had blighted the village over a number of decades and in doing so, boost the vitality of the community and secure the viability of the settlement.

In order to deliver this project a Steering Group of public, private and community interests was established by the Planning and Environment Department in 2000. Thereafter, the group met its objectives and successfully delivered:

  • A high quality sustainable Village Park;
  • A path network within and beyond the park, enjoyed by all ages, abilities and needs;
  • Enhanced habitats for the benefit of the community, environment and wildlife;
  • Raised awareness of the value and benefits of the local environment and heritage:
  • Arrangements for future open space management and maintenance as part of the Park's development.

From the outset it should be stressed that key to the success of this project was the commitment and now leadership, from the Glenboig and North Central Environment Group which in itself has been recognised as an exemplar of the benefits that can be gained from active, positive and sustained community participation.

However, this application seeks to highlight the role that North Lanarkshire Council's Planning and Environment Department played in delivering this community led but partnership driven project and the knowledge, range of professional skills and commitment by a range of agendes which was displayed throughout the process.

It also seeks to highlight the success and positive outcome that can be developed by a Local Planning Authority which actively seeks to work with a Community and indicates the pivotal role that the skills of Planners can provide in order to create effective and sustained partnerships.

Timescale (over which the project has developed)

In 1999, the Planning and Environment Department of North Lanarkshire Coundl were carrying out Local Plan commitments to look at ways of upgrading the environment of the area's villages and to realise their potential for residential, leisure and recreational facilities. At the same time the Glenboig and North Central Environmental Group was established by a group of local residents to discuss the environmental issues affecting their village.

Recognising that there were opportunities to build a solid working relationship between the Council and the Community, a Public Participatory Appraisal (PPA), exercise was arranged by the Planning and Environment Department in 2000 using an external agency. An outcome of this was the clear recognition within the local community that the quality of the environment was not acceptable. As such the Community stressed to the Council that they would support projects that sought to bring about improvements to the physical appearance of their village and the recreational facilities that were available.

The development of Glenboig Village Park was then taken forward by the partners and funders in the steering group in four distinct but related phases;

Village Park Project: Work began in January 2002 and will be completed during winter 2003.

Village Park Access Project: Work on the Village Park Access Project began in January 2002 and was completed in September 2002. The local community is already benefiting from new and upgraded paths.

The Woodland Access Project: This element was progressed by Central Scotland Forest Trust, began in October 2002 and finished in February 2003.

Community Habitat and Environmental Project: The majority of the Community Habitat and Environmental Project took place in July 2003. Final planting work assodated with the project will take place during November 2003.

Context (the problem which had to be addressed)

The village of Glenboig sits four miles north of Coatbridge and has a population of 2000. The area, although rich in character and tradition, has historically suffered from problems of high unemployment and low-income levels. At the same time large areas of derelict land from old brick and mine workings have exacerbated these difficulties.

The attached sheet entitled "Glenboig Village Study 200O~ sets out the physical and planning context for the area. It demonstrates that the Village Park is central to several smaller settlements that are perceived to be one area. It therefore creates a focal point for the regeneration of the area.

The Glenboig Village Park Project has delivered specific targets and actions set within a number of key local strategic documents, including the:

  • North Lanarkshire Community Plan,
  • Monklands Local Plan,
  • Derelict Land Greening Framework,
  • Public Access Strategy,
  • Biodiversity Action Plan,
  • Central Scotland Forest Strategy.

It is also worth mentioning that since the establishment of the Village Park, Planning Permission has been sought for two housing areas identified a number of years ago in the Monklands District Local Plan which to date had not been actively pursued by developers. While there are a number of contributory reasons behind this demand, it is considered that improvements to the village brought about by this project will have been a factor in the investment decisions taken by house builders.

Action taken

The Planning and Environment Department of North Lanarkshire Council played a fundamental enabling role in bringing people together to initiate the pmcess which led to the creation of the Village Park in Glenboig.

In the initial stages this involved gathering together the appropriate partners to deliver the project and thereafter provide the secretariat to ensure that there was a consistent exchange of information to partners at every stage of the process. This proved crucial in developing trust between organisations and groups who in the past may have been unaware of the role, responsibilities or function of others on the Steering Group.

The success of the partnership created is that ownership of tasks has since been taken on by others as roles have become embedded in the continuation of this project.

Another challenge assisted and driven by the Planning and Environment Department was the drawing together of technical expertise to provide assistance and secure adequate funding to deliver the initiative. This included the appointment of external consultants at appropriate stages in the process who were brought on board to identify the communities wishes, deliver initial designs, project manage the delivery of specific stages and provide assistance to boost the fundraising process.

In this respect at every stage the co-ordinating role of the Planning and Environment Department is worthy of recognition. This is particularly significant as a result of the fact that each stage of the project was delivered independently, but through the strategic role taken by the Planning Service and the Community group ensured that the overall aim and wider objectives of the initiative were always recognised.

Finally, the success of the project is apparent by the fact that the partners involved in creating the park continue to work together although it is noted that through time the Community have taken an increasing role in the management and use of the park and are now carrying out many of the tasks which other organisations had delivered in the past.

Results achieved

Partnership and Funding - The partnership group secured over 440,000, enabling the reclamation of derelict land, path and habitat improvements and increased opportunities for awareness raising. North Lanarkshire Council, Scottish Enterprise Lanarkshire, Central Scotland Forest Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage, Paths for All, Biffa, North Lanarkshire Forward and New Opportunities Fund all professionally and financially contributed to the project.

Regeneration - 18 hectares of derelict and under utilised land was brought into positive use, creating 920 linear metres of new paths and 2,573 linear metres of upgraded paths. In less measurable terms the works also created a sense of place and strong identity for the village and brought about an improvement to the image and perception of Glenboig for its local residents and visitors.

Community Development - The challenge of involving the wider Glenboig community, beyond the 'usual suspects', was key to the longer-term success of the initiative. Initiatives such as the Community Habitat and Environmental Project have seen a number of community planting events taking place which are key to building local environmental awareness and fostering a sense of community ownership. The Glenboig Neighbourhood House initiative is also working with the local community in developing interpretative panels depicting local history and wildlife.

The accompanying documents demonstrate more detailed evidence of these achievements.

Conclusion - Why does this piece of work merit an Award?

The Glen boig Village Park Project merits recognition not only for the fact that it has delivered environmental regeneration through the provision of a welcome and long term community resource but also it is in relation to the fact that the process was delivered as a result of the enabling work of the local planning authority.

This was shown in a number of ways including recognising community aspirations, establishing appropriate partnerships, identifying funding sources and thereafter creating the context and forum which brought about real differences to the environment and the community that lived within it.

The 'comfort' that been created through successful partnership working in Glenboig has ensured that initiatives continue to be brought forward which will sustain the use and management of the Park, one such initiative being, 'Glenboig Paths to Health' which aims to promote health and well being amongst Glenboig residents.

Glenboig Village Park is a successful demonstration of environmental regeneration and indicates that physical improvements to the built and natural environment can act as the catalyst for wider community and social improvements as well as an increase in the economic development potential of an area.

In this instance, the co-ordinating role of the Planning profession was key to the success of the project and as such it considered that this is worthy of recognition as an example of quality in planning.

Date
11 September 2003