In the news this week, w/e October 20

THE EDINBURGH district of Leith has been named the 16th ‘coolest neighbourhood’ in the world – according to the media outlet, Time Out.

Says Time Out, here: “Head to this northern corner of the Scottish capital any night of the week and you’ll find the docks buzzing.”

The top ten are: (1) Laureles, Medellín, Colombia; (2) Smithfield, Dublin, Ireland; (3) Carabanchel, Madrid, Spain; (4) Havnen, Copenhagen, Denmark; (5) Sheung Wan, Hong Kong; (6) Brunswick East, Melbourne, Australia; (7) Mid-City, New Orleans, USA; (8) Isola, Milan, Italy; (9) West, Amsterdam, Netherlands; and (ten) Tomigaya, Tokyo, Japan.

Affordable housing

A NEW strategy has been launched to address a shortage of ‘affordable’ housing in Scotland’s rural areas.

At the weekend, the Scottish Government announced an updated approach on previous plans, re-emphasising its long-held commitment to delivering 110,000 affordable homes by 2032, with ten per cent (ie 11,000) in rural and island areas.

Says the announcement, here: “The plan brings together the public and private sector working with local communities to deliver more homes where they are needed and help drive sustainable economic growth.

“Commitments include: supporting affordable and community-led housing delivery; bringing more empty homes back into use; providing more homes for key workers; commissioning research on affordable home ownership in rural and island areas; and addressing challenges with construction supply chains, skills and capacity.”

The announcement adds: “The Scottish Government recently announced package of financial support, co-funded with Nationwide Foundation, of up to £960,000 over the period 2023-24 – 2025-26 to support the staff capacity and expertise across Communities Housing Trust and South of Scotland Community Housing to take forward affordable housing projects.”

Local development plans

TRAINING materials have been launched, to support a “place-based collaborative approach” to the preparation of planning targets for local areas.

Recently, the terms of Local Development Plans were updated (here), to reflect the adoption of a new national planning framework – National Planning Framework (fourth edition).

And, in response, the Scottish Government agency, Architecture & Design Scotland, has produced a suite of training resources – here.

Says A&DS: “In this module, we share resources to support a place-based approach to the evidence-gathering phase of Local Development Plan preparations.

“Each snapshot will guide you through basic placemaking principles, practical steps, templates and case studies to help apply the learning.”

Wet wipes

A CONSULTATION has been launched on possibly stronger regulation of wet wipes manufacture.

The consultation (here) – which is UK-wide and ends on the 25th of next month – is primarily about plastics and micro-plastics.

Says the Scottish Government, here: “Wet wipes containing plastic break down into micro-plastics over time, which can be harmful to the environment and human health. Banning these products would help alleviate this issue, as well as reducing the volume of microplastics entering wastewater treatment plants when wrongly flushed.”

Buildings at Risk Register

ANOTHER consultation has been launched, this time on the use and effectiveness of a database of Scots buildings considered at risk of falling into ruin.

The consultation (here) – by the Scottish Government agency, Historic Environment Scotland – concerns the Buildings at Risk Register.

Communities to share £2m

A community centre in Aberdeen, a village shop in Plockton and a resource hub in Speyside are among 11 Scots projects about to share £2m in funding designed for “health, education, environment and charitable causes”.

The funding is from the National Lottery Community Fund, administered via its Scottish Land Fund.

Announcing the award winners, the Community Fund says, here: “The Scottish Land Fund reopened to applications in 2021. The programme is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered in partnership by the National Lottery Community Fund and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, both of which have extensive experience of helping communities to acquire and develop their assets for over a decade.”

Government bonds

INVESTIGATIONS are underway, exploring whether government IOUs should be issued to fund major infrastructure projects in Scotland.

Says the Scottish Government, here: “First Minister, Humza Yousaf, has commissioned initial work, including due diligence assessments, with the aim of making the bonds [the IOUs] available to the market by the end of the current parliamentary session.”

Wanted: ideas about Scotland’s planning system

AN invitation has been issued, seeking ideas on how to potentially improve Scotland’s planning system.

The call has been made by the recent former director of Scotland, Ireland and English regions for the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Craig McLaren now has the title, National Planning Improvement Champion, at the “national improvement organisation for local government in Scotland”, Improvement Service.

Says the Improvement Service, here: “The responses will feed into the creation of a new performance management model for planning authorities and a reporting and monitoring process that helps them identify areas for improvement.”

Adds McLaren, in a blog, here, recommendations will be taken to the “High Level Group on Planning Performance, which is jointly chaired by Scottish Government and CoSLA [Convention of Scottish Local Authorities].”

Spotted a news story you think should be brought to the attention of Place Design Scotland readers? Use our ‘Contact us’ link on the front page of the site, to get in touch. Thanks, in anticipation.

Main picture: Leith, Edinburgh, Picture credit: Place Design Scotland

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