Community involvement in the planning process

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

Making Places initiative (Community Led Design Fund)

Applications for Community Led Design funding should be made through the Investing in Communities Fund. The fund is now open to applications and will close on 14 June 2019. There are more details about how to apply on our blog. 

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.

The Place Standard Conversations Fund will support communities who are keen to develop their understanding of place and build their skills and confidence. Applications for funding in 2018 to 2019 are now closed.

Charrette community design workshops

We encourage 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 to improve their place. The collaborative nature of charrettes allows the wider social and economic issues of the community to be considered alongside physical design issues. However, we recognise that the charrette approach is only one method of enabling participation in placemaking. Communities have different needs at different times and may require support not just in developing a vision for their place, but also at the stages before and after this.

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

A 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.

Planning Aid for Scotland

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.

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 (April 2015) provides information and advice on making town centres more attractive, active and accessible. The toolkit is hosted on the Scotland's Towns Partnership website.