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.