Community Engagement

Prioritising Sustainability in Locality Improvement Plans

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Transition Edinburgh was invited by the City of Edinburgh Corporate Policy and Strategy and the Edinburgh Sustainable Development Partnership to organise four workshops and community exhibitions in February – March 2017 as part of the Locality Improvement Plan development process.

Over two hour workshop 170 citizens shared their priorities for the coming 5-year plans.  Recurrent themes raised at the workshops and the accompanying exhibitions included:

  • Improving Local Amenities – provision of Ideas Cafes / public meeting places and strategies to strengthen communities like Participative Budgeting.
  • Linking Green Spaces – promoting well being by creating enjoyable places and encouraging food growing – giving people pride in their local community.
  • Healthy Streets – more pedestrianisation and separating motor vehicles from people traveling more actively by walking and cycling.
  • Warm homes – more well insulated and affordable housing, no fuel poverty, and more community energy generation and district heating.

The fine detail of the responses is rich in local interest and shows a desire for both more involvement and for all the statutory agencies to listen and act so that some of the community’s ‘wishes’ come to fruition.

These responses are offered as a contribution to the Locality Improvement Plans due out in October 2017 and – in the longer term – to the Edinburgh 2050 City Vision.

The following compiles the Executive Summaries for each of the four Locality Improvement Teams to consider including in their coming Draft Plans.

More information can be found in the LIP Community Engagement Summary Report, and LIP Community Engagement Full Report.


Edinburgh South East Locality Improvement Plan

Executive Summary from Community Engagement

Transition Edinburgh organised an Exhibition at City Chambers from Monday 6th February to Friday 10th February and a Community Workshop on the evening of 8th February 2017 – for South East Locality, including City Centre.

  1. Improvement Plan Suggestions from the Community Workshop

The 50 participants were invited to rate their issue of concern from 0 (appalling) to 10 (wonderful).  The facilitators then invited all to describe their issues of concern and these were used to establish discussion groups with similar interests – summarised below:

Brief Summary of Priority Locality Improvement Projects:

  • Getting around and Air Quality: Improve Cycle lanes. No parking in them. Remove clutter from pavements (such as A boards).  Reduce congestion and amount of traffic coming into the city. Introduce congestion charge and increase Park and Ride.
  • Architecture and Place: Better implementation of planning decisions for Royal Mile and other City Centre streets to maintain the City as a World Heritage Site.
  • Community and Amenities: Accessible, quiet and affordable Indoor Public Spaces required for socialising and environmental and other community projects.
  • Waste: Improve   Throwaway society has to be addressed – perhaps through deposit on beverage containers and other means. 
  • Green Space: in the city is appreciated. Management needs to improve and a plan put in place. Improve connectivity between green spaces. Increase green corridors supporting biodiversity.  Preserve existing green space. Raise awareness of educational opportunities (green skills) and community growing.
  • Food: Improve access to local organic food in the city through Farmers’ Markets and other sustainable food sources. More growing within the city to address food security.
  1. Improvement Plan Suggestions emerging from the Exhibition

Stalls and displays were set up based on the following broad sustainability themes:
Food Growing and Sharing, Green Spaces, Affordable Warmth, a Roof over your Head, Getting About, Economy and Jobs, and Leisure and Well-being.  Locality Improvement Team and Transition Edinburgh South’s Project at Gracemount Walled Garden exhibited.

Participants were asked to indicate which themes mattered most to them with orange dots.

People were also asked to use post-its to consider What’s Working Well in their Locality and what Could Be Better.  The final opportunity to contribute was by posting ideas on the Wishing Tree that participants hoped for if they had a Fairy Godmother!

Priorities identified from each of the engagement Tools:

  1. Exhibition Titles Strongest support for the following (response totals in brackets)
  • Nature is near where we live and work (26)
  • Walking and cycling priority over private cars (25)
  • Our parks and gardens lift our spirits (24)
  • I don’t need a car, public transport is great (19)
  1. Wishing Tree

Green Spaces

  • Connect Green Spaces! Braidburn Valley Park path to Hermitage of Braid via Morton Hall Tennis Club – underpass under Braid Road and Pentland Terrace next to the burn.
  • High value placed on our natural capital – Bio-diverse parks and green spaces
  • Green corridors more outdoor activities to promote health and wellbeing – more trees
  • Access to good health and outdoors for everyone and more trees along our streets
  • Greenspace close to where we live to enjoy nature, retrofit green space where deficient
  • Better appreciation of eco-systems – i.e. pollination, air quality, flooding prevention, aesthetics, soil quality – and how these depend on healthy ‘nature’

Getting Around and Air Quality

  • Congestion Charge of say £10 / car to enter city (area to be agreed). Disabled free
  • Stop 80,000 cars coming in every day dumping their vehicles in our residential streets
  • Reduce congestion and killer air pollution, less cars, more electric vehicles, more bikes
  • Cities and streets are for people! Healthier Streets and Car Free Days
  • More trees to combat pollution – increasing the health of our citizens.

Architecture

  • Stricter Planning Permission stop destruction of our Ancient Architecture
  • Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site needs more pedestrian spaces
  • Stop shops putting Scottish Tourist Tat outside their shop fronts and blasting loud music
  • A ban on ‘A’-boards throughout the city. They are a selfish blockage to our pavements.

Community and Amenities

  • Culture is the city’s strength: more local investment in Arts and Culture infrastructure
  • A work hub for self employed people
  • We need to stop being a throwaway society: our streets are dirty / not enough recycling
  • Encourage community groups to take control of our neighbourhoods spaces
  • Increase local food production.
  1. Could Be Better
  • Healthy Streets for people walking and cycling with less need for polluting vehicles
  • Less Fly-tipping and people taking responsibility – More bins, litter busting teams!
  • More trees – they are not being replaced – need more budget for this
  • Need better promotion of parks for health and well-being, better play facilities
  • School grounds should be greener especially alongside busty roads.
  • School dinners organic and local, school snacks healthy
  • Too many supermarkets taking over independent shops locally – protect local shops
  • Too many student ”ghettos” being built in town for maximum profit
  • Require owners to clear up dog fouling. Better waste collection less rubbish and litter

Less traffic – Air Pollution is an issue on major roads.


  1. Edinburgh South West Locality Improvement Plan

Executive Summary from Community Engagement

Transition Edinburgh organised an Exhibition at Wester Hailes Education Centre (WHEC) Monday 13 to Friday 17 February and a Community Workshop on 15 February 2017.
The following priorities came from two Community Workshops – the evening one at WHEC and a follow up on 15 March at Out of the Blue – plus an Exhibition at WHEC.

  1. Improvement Plan Suggestions from the Community Workshop

The 35 participants were invited to rate an issue of concern 0 (appalling) to 10 (wonderful).  The facilitators then invited all to describe their issues of concern and these were used to establish discussion groups with similar interests – summarised below:

Brief Summary of Priority Locality Improvement Projects:

Priority Projects on Place, Community Safety, Health, Social Care & Well-being:

  • Community Hubs:  with enhancement of Local Amenities
  • “Healthy Streets”:  Neighbourhood project to tackle traffic and congestion
  • Green Space transformed:  through Place creation; increase value of parks; reduce litter; increase community cohesion
  • “South West is Best”: community ownership and Pride in Place.

To make these happen a holistic approach is needed.  Suggestions included: Invite a Challenge Bid – “Place Transformation Projects” and allocate 10% of capital funding for SW over the 5 years to be allocated (£millions) for reorganisation of roads + village square + gathering space – and select two projects on basis of collaborative process evidence.

These will help to develop a better sense of community, and  increase the potential for pride in the locality.  Provision of more ‘gathering space’ will give opportunities for reducing isolation of vulnerable people and so improve health and well-being.

Priority Projects focussed on aspects of Place:

  • Zero Fuel Poverty and Insulated Warm Homes

Both focus on retro-fitting insulation, reducing fuel poverty, improving health and well-being, in addition to reducing carbon emissions – so contributing to the city’s Sustainable Energy Action Plan and are also part of creating a more sustainable city.

Community scale implementation is proposed.  By 2022,  25% of all domestic and non-domestic building improve EPC by 2 levels.  Target achieving at least level C Energy Performance Certificate by all residential and non-domestic buildings in locality by 2030.

Co-procuring, re-training operatives, installing PV, refurbishing – provision of loans and grants, Home Energy Scotland will need to be involved.  Advice from the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation will help to plan an achievable programme of work.

In parallel there should be 2 pilot projects delivering district heating for 1,000 homes by 2025.  Energy projects meet the ambitions of CEC’s Sustainable Energy Action Plan.

  • Participative Budgeting

Increase allocation from current £10s of 1,000s/year to £100s of 1,000s/year by 10%/year for delivery of small local improvements selected through participative budgeting process. Promoting sense that community ideas can contribute to well-being in LIP.  Funds from Council + other bodies + for big issues:  Establish and pilot and pay a Citizen’s Jury to deliberate and decide way forward.  This will engage the community with improvements.

  1. Improvement Plan Suggestions emerging from the Exhibition

Stalls and displays were set up based on the following broad sustainability themes:
Food Growing and Sharing, Green Spaces, Affordable Warmth, a Roof over your Head, Getting About, Economy and Jobs, and Leisure and Well-being.  Transition Edinburgh, the Locality Improvement Team and Friends of Granton Castle Walled Garden also exhibited.

Participants were asked to show which themes mattered most to them with coloured dots.

People were also asked to use post-its to consider What’s Working Well in their Locality and what Could Be Better.  The final opportunity to contribute was by posting ideas on the Wishing Tree that participants hoped for if they had a Fairy Godmother!

Priorities identified from each of the engagement tools:

  1. Exhibition titles Strongest support for the following: (response totals in brackets)
  • Getting About: Walking and cycling priority over private cars (23)  I don’t need a car, public transport is great (12)
  • Leisure and Well-being: Everyone enjoys an active pastime (10)
  • Food growing: We share community meals and local seasonal veg (8)
  • Affordable warmth: Local heating networks give trouble free heating (7).
  1. Could Be Better
  • Place / Highways: Cycling, walking, traffic free areas especially near shops (9)
  • Affordable Homes: Good quality social housing (4)
  • Public Transport: Better bus provision (4)
  • Growing Space: People who want to grow their own food should easily access space, and not have to wait for years which can easily make them give up (1)
  • Waste Management: Improve bin collections (1)
  • Local Producer Priority: Protect produce Made in Scotland not tat imports (1)
  • Green Spaces: Start a Friends of the Canal (1)
  • Adaptation: Adapt to Climate Change actions in all Locality Plans (1).
  1. Wishing Tree (Number of wishes in brackets)
  • Green space: Improvements, less litter, access to land for food growing (5)
  • Public Transport: An issue which may be outwith scope but is important to many, specifically bus provision. GPs send people to St John’s Hospital in Livingston and there is no bus service and taxis are expensive.  The no 18 bus to the Infirmary only runs every hour for most of the day (3)
  • Sustainable Active Travel: Provision for walking and cycling (2)
  • Fuel Poverty: More warm affordable housing (2)
  • Co-operative Council: Yes to ideas of collaboration with social enterprises (1)
  • Sustainability: Must be incorporated in all spatial and Community Plans (1).

  1. Edinburgh North West Locality Improvement Plan

Executive Summary from Community Engagement

Transition Edinburgh organised an Exhibition at North Edinburgh Arts Monday 20 February to Friday 24 February and a Community Workshop on Wednesday 22 February 2017.

  1. Improvement Plan Suggestions from the Community Workshop

The 35 participants were invited to rate an issue of concern 0 (appalling) to 10 (wonderful).  The facilitators then invited all to describe their issues of concern and these were used to establish discussion groups with similar interests – summarised below:

Brief Summary of six Requested Locality Improvement Projects:

Priority Projects focussed on aspects of Place + Health, Social Care and Well-being:

  1. Sustainable Active Travel: Improve Public Transport, Cycling and Walking and reduce Air Pollution.  This should involve cooperation between the CEC, Transport for Edinburgh, NGOs such as Spokes, Living Streets and Sustrans and the local community through public consultation and would result in Healthy Streets for All.
  2. Map, release and use all suitable available land for Food Growing: This should involve the Council and Health Services led by Community organisations.  It would lead to Improved Nutrition, Reduced Food Poverty, Cooking Skills and Local Jobs.
  3. “Go Wild in the Park”: This should involve Community, Volunteers and Local Businesses and create a haven – especially for children – to engage with wildlife and learn about risks and resilience.
  4. Zero Fuel Poverty: This project should involve energy generation, district heating and solar PV run by and for community benefit.  Social housing / housing associations, rented and privately-owned homes and public & business buildings to be connected – leading to lower costs, less poverty and lower carbon emissions.

Priority Projects focussed on aspects of Place:

  1. “Ideas Cafes” in all local areas: This would help groups in meet to formulate new ideas and projects.  It would involve Linkup, CAN, Community Councils, Community organisations and businesses working in partnership with the Council.  It would offer low / no cost premises and result in support for real empowerment of communities.
  2. Waste and Recycling: The project would involve setting up a Community Swap, Reuse and Repair Hub to complement the Council’s improved waste management.  This project requires the cooperative action of everyone including the Council, Community Councils, schools, college and environmental bodies like Changeworks.  It would contribute to a Circular Economy locally and reduce landfill.
  3. Improvement Plan Suggestions emerging from the Exhibition

Stalls and displays were set up based on the following broad sustainability themes:
Food Growing and Sharing, Green Spaces, Affordable Warmth, a Roof over your Head, Getting About, Economy and Jobs, and Leisure and Well-being.  Transition Edinburgh, the Locality Improvement Team and Friends of Granton Castle Walled Garden also exhibited.

Participants were asked to indicate which themes mattered most to them with green dots.

People were also asked to use post-its to consider What’s Working Well in their Locality and what Could Be Better.  The final opportunity to contribute was by posting ideas on the Wishing Tree that participants hoped for if they had a Fairy Godmother!

Priorities identified from each of the engagement tools:

Exhibition titles Strongest support for the following:  (response totals in brackets)

  • Food Growing and Sharing including use of Granton Walled Garden (42)
  • Affordable Housing and Warmth – including local Heat Networks (26)
  • Green Space / Nature / Biodiversity close to home (22)
  • Job Opportunities for young people including new Social Enterprises (16).

What’s Working Well

  • Restore and re-open Granton Castle Walled Garden for community use (10)

Could Be Better

  • Transport: More clean hybrid buses.  Bus to beach for locals.  Bus shelters
  • Healthy streets – for people walking and cycling – with less polluting vehicles
  • Air pollution reduction needed adjacent to school grounds
  • Waste: Better waste collection services (less rubbish and litter). More bins
  • More Bins for dog poo / reduce fouling. Less fly tipping.  Cleaner back greens
  • Housing: Reduce power of and democratise CEC planning committee to prioritise social housing without swallowing up green belt
  • Energy: New and old houses better insulated.  New builds for younger tenants
  • Food: Organic school dinners using local food, also healthy snacks
  • Greenspace: More tree planting.  Promote Parks for health & well-being
  • Shops: Protect local shops.  Stop planning permission for supermarkets
  • Community: Get kids more active / better play facilities
  • Equalities: More for people with mobility / sensory / sight issues
  • Culture: Investment on arts infrastructure
  • Investment: Support for groups wanting to do things / participative budgeting.

Wishing Tree  (Number of wishes in brackets)

  • Food / Health: Restore and re-open Granton Castle Walled Garden for community use (32), develop allotment site on Silverknowes farmland (1)
  • Getting About / Health: Less traffic pollution (3), more cycle paths (4), more walking (1), bypass for Salvesen Steps (1)
  • Greenspace: “Wildwood” park with trees & pond instead of flat grass desert (1)
  • Children: More places for imaginary play (1)
  • Employment: More job opportunities for youth (1).  Equal opps for all (1)
  • Adults: Nightclub, Social spaces for eating and drinking – in the community (1)
  • Community Initiatives: Support from Council with Community-led ideas (1)
  • Human-scale Place: No more high buildings on the waterfront (1)
  • Heritage: Repair Dowie’s Mill Weir on the River Almond (1)
  • Mental Health: Free Leisure Cards for those with mental health problems (1)
  • Global: Peace and equality (1)

  1. Edinburgh North East Locality Improvement Plan

Executive Summary from Community Engagement

Transition Edinburgh organised an Exhibition at Craigmillar Library Monday 27 February to Friday 3 March, a Community Workshop on the evening of Wednesday 22 February at Craigmillar Library and on the afternoon of Wednesday 15 March 2017 at Out of the Blue.

  1. Improvement Plan Suggestions from the Community Workshop

The 30 participants in the first workshop were invited to rate an issue of concern from 0 (appalling) to 10 (wonderful).  The facilitators then invited all to describe their issues of concern and these were used to establish discussion groups with similar interests – summarised below.  These ideas were further considered at the second workshop – resulting in the following ideas being developed for inclusion in the draft Plan:

Brief Summary of the five Requested Locality Improvement Projects:

Four projects focussed on aspects of Place & Health, Social Care and Wellbeing

  1. Derelict Ground: Creation of Green and Blue pathways for Community Gardening, Food Production, Green Spaces to relax and to play ball games.  This would involve cooperation between schools, colleges, university, residents and the Council to make the space available.
  2. Growing Spaces: This project would improve health through better nutrition and reduce food poverty and have a positive impact on the community’s carbon footprint.
    It would be Community led – by groups like Residents’ Associations, volunteer groups, schools, different ethnic groups, and suppliers of seeds, wood construction companies.
  3. Healthier Food: (production and supply) The idea of this project is to create Community Food Markets, e.g. at schools, supplied by locally produced food from allotments and private gardens to provide healthier food to the community and especially children and to eliminate the need for food banks. It would involve Community and private garden owners for production, the Council, the SHRUB Co-op, the Abundance group and the Citizen’s Foundation.  Outcomes include reduced illness, better overall physical and mental health.
  4. Warm Homes: This project aims to attract investment in co-operative low carbon, warm new homes to reduce fuel poverty and improve health of residents.  It would be Community-led for community benefit and it would use not for profit funding sources.

One project focused on aspects of Place:

  1. Zero waste to landfill: The objective of this project would be to install effective waste collection, communal and kerbside and to encourage proactive householders.  This requires cooperative from the waste contractors, e.g. Veolia, Biffa, the Council and Community Councils, product designers (ie no plastic bin lids) and behavioural experts.
  2. Improvement Plan Suggestions emerging from the Exhibition

Stalls and displays were set up based on several broad sustainability themes:
Food Growing and Sharing, Green Spaces, Affordable Warmth, a Roof over your Head, Getting About, Economy and Jobs, and Leisure and Well-being.  Transition Edinburgh, the Locality Improvement Team and other local initiatives also exhibited.  Participants were asked to show which themes mattered most to them with coloured dots.

People were also asked to use post-its to consider What’s Working Well in their Locality and what Could Be Better.  The final opportunity to contribute was by posting ideas on the Wishing Tree that participants hoped for if they had a Fairy Godmother.

Priorities identified from each of the engagement tools:

Exhibition titles Strongest support for the following:  (response totals in brackets)

  • Green Space / Nature / Biodiversity – close to home (18)
  • Affordable Housing and Warm Homes including Local Heat Networks (11)
  • Food Growing and sharing (7).

What’s Working Well

  • Community initiatives: e.g. Leithers Don’t Litter. Local vibrancy, e.g. via the arts
  • Community Growing and Allotments
  • Culture: Development of music and the arts scene, e.g. street art.
    Cultural diversity.  Cultural networks and infrastructure.  Library provision
  • Entrepreneurship: Small independent shop infrastructure.
    Innovative enterprises and social enterprises – initiatives by people.  Markets
  • Waste: Waste collection works in most areas
  • Transport: Bus services (availability of network, affordability, regularity, Wi-Fi)
  • Environment: Use of green open spaces, e.g. Pilrig Park.

Could Be Better

  • Food: available food should be better quality (there’s not enough ethical / local / organic food available).  City Council to allocate more land for food growing
  • Warm, Affordable Housing: more homes, cap on rents, a reduction in energy bills
  • Biodiversity Promotion: within housing areas, e.g. herbs and living walls
  • Entrepreneurship: support social enterprises, local economy & independent shops
  • Waste: tenement collection needs improved (e.g. North Fort St and South Fort St)
  • Sustainable Transport: Healthy Streets and more grade separated cycling paths.

Wishing Tree

  • Green Routes: for Health and Community / that kids can walk to and enjoy
  • Warm Homes: very well insulated and in attractive setting with quality green space
  • Residential Energy: new homes with onsite renewables – generates many jobs
  • Housing Co-ops: Zero Carbon on small sites big housing developers don’t touch 
  • Rooms for homeless people: so they can sign-in and use – no questions asked
  • Apprenticeships for school leavers: Jobs!! Jobs!! Jobs!! 
  • New Waste Contracts: so they maximise waste collection + tidy recycling areas
  • Healthy Streets: separate lanes for pedestrians and cyclists, stop rat-runs
  • Neighbourhood volunteering: local hubs so everyone can work together
  • Promote Leith: creative hub of Scotland + centre of expertise in Circular Economy
  • Council Factoring Scheme: extend Council scheme to mixed ownership stairs
  • Dog fouling: allow community groups to fine culprits
  • School grounds: used for growing food and getting children involved and active

School meals:  sourced locally! No more chips and pizza in one meal.


Acknowledgements

Many thanks to City of Edinburgh Council Corporate Policy and Strategy Manager, who invited this engagement and met the costs of Osbert Lancaster and Pamela Candea as experienced workshop facilitators, to Locality Improvement Team staff who embraced this project so fully and all the community and voluntary groups who contributed to both Exhibitions and the Workshops;  and thanks to all the residents who gave their views so generously on the future they seek.   ________________________________________________________________________

Locality Working was introduced to Edinburgh in 2016.   There are four Localities in Edinburgh.  South East inc City Centre  /  South West  /  North West  /  North East.  Each Locality is required to develop a 5-year Locality Improvement Plan.  Phase 1 consultation looked at the wider needs of a Locality over autumn 2016.

These events contributed to Phase 2 looking at more specific issues in localities.
Locality Improvement Plans are due to be published by October 2017.  _____________________________________________________________________

Transition Edinburgh connects and supports community groups, and initiates practical projects that strive for a greener, fairer, healthier and more resilient Edinburgh.

To join in city-wide Transition initiatives or to sign up to our monthly email newsletter please see the tabs for links to local groups, contact us, or come along to one of the Events of Interest.

Pat Abel, Reem Al-Kayyam, Katharina Bouchard, Isabella Browning, Johanna Carrie and David Somervell with workshop facilitation by Pamela Candea and Osbert Lancaster.

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