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National park crowned overall winner at Scottish Government planning awards

Words: Laura Edgar
Loch Lomond at The Trossachs National Park Authority

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority was announced as the overall winner at the 2015 Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning in Edinburgh.

The national park won the Overall Award of the night for its approach to consultation on the LIVE Park (Local Development Plan) Main Issues Report, as well as an award in the Development Management category for its work in supporting the delivery of run-of-river hydro-electric schemes.

The approach to LIVE Park was developed by a team that included planners and architects while the campaign was led by the planning and communications trams at the National Park Authority. The campaign, the park explained, was designed to be “interactive and engaging, using digital media to reach a broader range of audiences than traditionally engages in planning consultations”.

Alongside “tried and tested” consultation methods, the team focused on ways to engage working age families and young people, including a Lego competition to help primary school children build how they wanted their community to be and producing YouTube videos to explain words and phrases such as charrette and sustainable development.

The judges - Nikola Miller, RTPI Scotland planning policy and practice officer; Kevin Murray, director at Kevin Murray Associates; and Alistair MacDonald, founding director of ALS Planning Ltd – said the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority’s approach taken towards creating a development plan was “dynamic and refreshing”.

Speaking to The Planner, Miller said the park "impressed me for their innovative and dynamic approach to engaging people in the creation of their development plan. The team showed ambition in applying a range of new techniques tailored to the individual circumstances of the National Park, and putting people at the heart of their plan making. The team are great advocates for the profession and deserve praise for their approach."

Gordon Watson, chief executive of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park said winning the award recognises “the incredible efforts being made to be innovative and accessible in our approach to planning. LIVE Park has been the result of a fantastic collaboration between our planning and communications teams that has transformed the way we engage people in the planning process”.

“The imaginative use of different communication and social media tools has not only helped promote the relevance of planning to a wider audience, but also ensured that we have achieved strong consensus on the direction of planning policy,” he said.

Other winners at 2015 Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning include:

  • The Moray Council – Delivering an Effective Housing Land Supply

  • City of Edinburgh Council – Mixed Use Development – Advocate’s Close

  • Dumfries and Galloway – Lockerbie High Street: Town Centre Regeneration

  • Aberdeenshire Council – Proposed Local Development Plan Short Films

The full list of award winners and commendations can be found here (pdf).

The awards were held in Edinburgh on Tuesday 10 November.

Images credit | Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park (L to r: Ewen Kinninment, Susan Brooks, Anna MacLean, and Stuart Mearns (head of planning and rural development at Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park) with Alex Neil MSP, cabinet secretary for social justice, community & pensioner’s rights and Gordon Watson, chief executive, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park.)