This report presents the Crail Charrette results and the community’s Local Place Plan – a community-led, collaborative approach to tackling the social and economic challenges that Crail faces in the future. The Local Place Plan has been developed through a wide-ranging and extremely well-supported community engagement process, led by the local community, which included three public workshops and many other activities during 2018-19. We have been guided by professional opinion, but the outcome and plan reflects how the people of Crail would like to see the town develop.
The process has been strongly supported by the Scottish Government’s Making Places initiative and Fife Council. The Crail community are grateful for this co-ordinated support and look forward to it continuing into the delivery phase as an exemplar of community empowerment and planning.
What is new and pioneering about Crail’s approach is that it has included a collaborative approach to land-use planning and development: rather than seek to resist significant planned growth on the edge of the settlement, Crail embraces this as a positive opportunity to create a more sustainable community. We have an excellent opportunity to successfully trial the proposed Masterplan Consent Area approach in order to deliver high quality development through full consultation and democratic consent for change from all stakeholders in the community. This plan very much embodies the Planning Bill’s Local Place Plan approach, incorporating a ‘whole-town’ approach to placemaking- encompassing not only the built and natural environment but also community empowerment and service delivery.
The Plan is specifically designed to tackle challenges to the local community’s long-term sustainability – including declining population and employment opportunities, access to housing for local residents, reductions in community facilities and public services, and opportunities for young people.
Overall, the document is an ambitious but realistic statement of community aspirations. It is work in progress and means nothing unless we can make it happen. The local community will lead delivery of this plan, but it will also need continuing support from others – particularly Fife Council and the Scottish Government. Crail has a great opportunity not only to build its future from within, but also to act as a pathfinder for the rest of Scotland – by working collaboratively, capitalising on Crail’s assets, and tapping into the opportunities presented by new development.
This report summarises the process and outcome of a Charrette conducted in Crail during 2018-19 to create a Local Place Plan for the sustainable development of Crail consistent with the long-term aspirations and wishes of Crail stakeholders, of all ages, social groups and degrees of community engagement. The Charrette was a community- led collaborative activity consisting of three well supported public workshops and a wide range of associated community engagement projects including surveys which captured the opinion of all demographic and social groups – and the contribution of at least one third of Crail stakeholders. Charrette activities were designed to identify both the problems facing the future development of Crail and the principles and challenges that might shape how those problems might be addressed. The product of this process was a Local Place Plan with associated actions.
A number of challenges to the local community’s long-term sustainability were identified including declining population and employment opportunities, poverty and disadvantage, access to housing for local residents, reductions in community facilities and public services and opportunities for young people. The quality of the environment – both the natural environment and in terms of local services – were clear priorities for everyone. The Local Place Plan was designed to improve local capacity to tackle poverty, reduce inequality and promote social justice and is based on a range of long term strategic goals to improve the environment of Crail for everyone (page 6) with a continuing emphasis on enhancing the centre of Crail and developing further the current sense of community. These goals are:
• Integrating New Developments
• Extend and Connect Community Wildlife-friendly Greenspace
• Develop Active Routes
• Develop Community Facilities
• Improve Coastal Walk
• Improve Harbour Facilities
• Improve the Town Centre
• Develop Opportunities for Employment and Small Businesses
The local community intends to achieve those goals through 5 priority actions, with lead players and first steps identified:
• Integrating new development (page 17)
• Affordable homes (page 23)
• Business and tourism (page 24)
• Community facilities and local services (page 26) • Environment (page 28)
The report also includes a development framework for the proposed new housing development in Crail North (page 21), as our most pressing challenge to make Crail an equitable and sustainable community. As such it is a test case for how the charrette process might succeed in bringing all of a local communities’ aspirations into development decisions.
• New housing should reflect and respect what Crail represents and is required by the people of Crail.
• The new housing must include sustainable, affordable accommodation for all ages. In particular this would include local young adults looking to set up new homes and older people wishing to downsize to more appropriate accommodation for later life.
• New housing should not be treated as a dormitory solution where people work elsewhere with little connection to Crail. This includes the development making a contribution to the local economy, particularly helping local businesses and tourism.
• The scale of the proposed development has the potential to increase the Crail population by one third. This will inevitably have a material impact on community services, facilities and environment. Therefore, a ‘whole place’ approach needs to be adopted in creating detailed investment proposals for such a significant expansion to Crail
• New developments like Crail North must have community, wildlife-friendly green space to act as corridors and pathways around and through them, to connect into the existing path and greenspace network of Crail.
The overall recommendations represent a clear outcome of local democracy with involvement from the whole of Crail. Crail is a community clearly expressing its wish to determine its future in a sustainable way, and expecting these ambitions to be fully considered and respected within the context of the larger development plan for Fife.