As advertised in the last Crier, the Community Council gave over the whole of its meeting on 21st June in the Masonic Hall to a presentation by Johanna Babbs and Catriona Davies, development officers for the Tay Landscape Partnership.
This was the last of the first round of community in- volvement meetings, and despite the hellish weather it was by far the best attended. Many thanks to all who came. The development team have also intimated that they wish to thank those who completed the online survey. All grist to the mill, and so forth. The purpose of this first round of meetings was for the project team to describe the scope of the whole scheme, and to discover what local communities up and down the Tay estuary felt was important for their area, what improvements they would like to see, etc.. Johanna and Catriona began by outlining the different stages of the scheme, whose big event in 2013 will be a major Heritage Lottery Fund bid with the aim of putting into effect several 'projects, activities and events to inspire residents and visitors alike'.
Several development themes were given—among them conserving/restoring the built and natural heritage; improving access to and knowledge of the rivers Tay and Earn; encouraging more active involvement with the landscape, and so on. At this point a long-stand- ing resident of the village asked how likely it was that Perth and Kinross Council Planning would approve any scheme we came up with, given how often local representations had been ignored in the past—not an unreasonable point. Well, it is worth mentioning here that P&K have councillors on the Tay Landscape Part- nership Steering Committee, and are supporting the scheme--the P&K logo appears on the literature and the website: www.taylp.org, so there is perhaps reason to be cautiously optimistic.
The second part of the evening was spent in group discussions, which were lively and (we hope there- fore) will prove to have been productive. This was after all the local community's chance to have its say. It seemed to me that the idea of developing path net- works for walkers and cyclists along the shores of the Tay was a particularly popular topic on the night, while archaeology, local signage, community orchards and several others also had a good airing. And initial feedback from all of the community consultations reveals (surprise!) that the vast majority of people want to know more about the area--and feel there is a lack of information on where to go and what to see. Most people would also like to see boat trips on the Tay (the so-called 'river-taxis').
So what now? The Tay LP has 4 working groups. By the time you read this, the group whose focus is 'Reconnecting with the Landscape' will have visited Abernethy to tour the village and surrounds to see the context for potential development. Such activities are ongoing up and down the estuary.
Next the development team intends to return to communities some time in the autumn to discuss feed- back from the local consultations and also what looks to be feasible in terms of the lottery bid. Overall devel- opment plans should be more concrete by then, and once again we'll be able to give our tuppenceworth accordingly. Watch out for more publicity in advance of this second round of community meetings. Check also www.taylp.org
Finally, may I repeat that it was gratifying to see such a good turnout for what was officially a Community Council meeting; it would be great to see such num- bers at the more normal meetings. (The next one, by the way, will be on Thursday, September 20th in the Pavilion at Powrie Park, 7.30 pm.)