In this guest blog, Isobel Leckie of the Causey Development Trust discusses the frustrations of delays and red tape facing community-led developments.
She writes: “For a single weekend in May 2007 as part of the Six Cities’ Design Festival, grass replaced tarmac, palm trees replaced road signs, a pink carpet was laid, and people replaced cars as the distinctive triangular space known as The Causey in Edinburgh was transformed into a tropical island.
More than 1500 people visited and posted their thoughts on an Ideas Tree, expressing their enthusiasm for the project and for the underlying idea that our streets need to be designed for people.
We at the Causey Development Trust, an entirely volunteer led charity, have spent the last fourteen years designing and consulting on plans to reclaim the space for the local community, facilitating safer walking and cycling and drawing attention to this oft-forgotten corner of the southside of the city.
But despite overwhelming approval from the local community, we’ve still got some way to go. We’ve got a fully costed design for the transformation by Ironside Farrar Landscape Architects, and have clearly mapped out routes to funding, but Covid-19 has put a hold on the Environmental Impact Assessment stage as we are awaiting a formal in person hearing to consider objections to the relevant Traffic Regulation Order and Redetermination Order. This delay, of over two years now, has even led to the loss of some funding.
It’s frustrating to say the least.
Surely it is time for the current TRO/RSO process to be overhauled and fit to nurture the community empowerment exemplified by Causey Development Trust?
But we are undeterred and convinced that someday in the near future, the Causey will once again be a haven for walkers and cyclists. Maybe without the palm trees, though.”
Isobel Leckie will be speaking at the National Active Travel Conference on 2 June about the award-winning Causey transformation project, sharing learning about public engagement, working with local authorities, sourcing funding and managing capital works.
The Covid-19 crisis has undoubtedly been the most challenging and difficult period the entire country has faced in decades. People have faced personal loss and financial difficulty on an unprecedented scale.
Yet the past year of long periods of full lockdown, and shorter periods of lockdown-lite, has clearly had some benefits for active and sustainable travel.
Reduced traffic in our towns and cities suddenly opened up the streets to walkers and cyclists in a way that would have seemed unthinkable, pre-pandemic.
Restrictions which allowed us out only for daily exercise encouraged people to walk and cycle where previously their exercise of choice might have been the pool or the gym, or indeed nothing at all.
The question is, how do we lock in the benefits of lockdown?
The National Active Travel Conference 2021 will consider this question along with several other key issues facing the active travel community as we emerge – hopefully – from this long and difficult period. We'll be asking:
Speakers from a wide range of organisations will tackle these questions and many more, setting out what they’ve learned from the past year and presenting exciting ideas and best practice which could be adopted across Scotland in months and years to come.
Book your place now for just £25 + VAT.