A community arts and development organisation in Dumfries is making a bid to take back control of its neglected town centre and become the first in Scotland to buy back its high street. It hopes to transform the down-at-heel centre into a bustling hub full of urban homes, social enterprises and local small businesses.
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A page on the Scottish Government website claims, boldly, to describe How Community Planning Works.Cynics might answer: “It’s complicated.” They might be right.
While community planning has been around since the 2003 Local Government Act, the big shift underway is making sure it’s not just token consultation, but genuine community participation in planning our futures. This is what the 2015 Community Empowerment Act envisaged, and it is a big change.
Since it was announced in October that residents of the Isle of Ulva, along with those on neighbouring Mull, would be given the opportunity to attempt a community buyout of the island, there has been a great deal of interest from all over the globe. Articles have featured in newspapers and online in the likes of Australia, France, Singapore and the UAE. There has been great support for the project, but also a certain amount of criticism - land reform can be a divisive topic.
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