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Stonehouse Community Council


The community council recently wrote to SLC (JUne 2018) to establsih what was happening regards neighbourhood planning process and to establish if Stonehouse would be covered in the process. The following is the response from SLC.


Thanks for your email.

I would be happy to share information on the Neighbourhood Planning process underway.

I would start by saying that this is not a Council approach but is one being undertaken by the Community Planning Partnership and we have been working with communities from the outset to ensure the process meets with their expectations and maximises their participation and involvement.

The work is being undertaken in response the new requirements on the Community Planning Partners under the 2015 Community Empowerment Act to produce both a Local Outcome Improvement Plan for South Lanarkshire (this will be our new Community Plan) and individual “locality plans” for areas where evidence shows that local outcomes are poorest and inequalities are greatest relative to the average for South Lanarkshire.

The Community Planning Partnership Board took the decision last year to develop 3 of these locality plans (we are calling them neighbourhood plans) in the first instance and the areas targeted all have datazones that sit within the 5% most deprived in Scotland(Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation) . It is important to differentiate between this activity and activity elsewhere (e.g. in some smaller Clydesdale areas) where communities are developing plans for their area.

The approach taken was not to follow the old approach by detailing all the statistics that show the challenges facing the area but to be more assets based, focused on community aspirations and on what is good in their area and where communities believe they can contribute to delivering these aspirations. This is why there are only 4 open questions.

I attach an example of the questionnaire used. This questionnaire was online using the SNAP software and was open for several months and most people who completed the survey did so online. To ensure that a lack of digital access, skills or confidence did not exclude local people, our partner organisations - who were and continue to facilitate community participation in the neighbourhood planning process - went door to door in the communities.

We monitored responses regularly and - having taken basic demographic information into account - age, gender, postcodes, we were able to ensure that the responses were representative of the broader community. If we were repeating we would include some equalities monitoring.

The downside of asking open questions is in the time required then to analyse responses and group into appropriate themes . Sometimes people struggled with articulating their vision and needed time to be able to do so , however we were keen to avoid asking closed and potentially leading questions.

Over 1,200 households took part across the 3 Neighbourhood Planning areas – around 15% of households which is a decent response rate.

I attach the survey findings report for one of the areas. In many ways the survey results are ‘can openers’ – they identified general areas that enabled the work with local residents to start on what lies behind some of the challenges in these areas and help identify ideas to take forward.

We have since had various events and meetings in each of the areas to report survey findings; generate interest and involvement and in particular encourage and support residents to start to progress some of the priorities.

The view is to get some early/quick wins to help build confidence and generate wider interest. Where relevant to the priorities and actions, we involve appropriate partners as not all actions can be delivered by the community alone.

We don’t have Neighbourhood Plans in place yet. We are working with residents to develop a local Stakeholder group in each area who will oversee the development and delivery of the plans, with at least 50% of the group membership having to be local residents.

I would hope these groups are finalised soon and in the meantime we continue to work with residents to build on the initial work and to maintain momentum .There are some great activities and projects emerging. Neighbourhood Plans are to cover 10 years so we are in this for the long haul.

It might be helpful to chat to colleagues in Community Links who facilitate community participation in two of the three Neighbourhood Planning areas. They will be happy to advise on specific examples of how we are progressing the priorities emerging from the initial survey. Morag Pinion is the Manager there are her number is 01698 827583. I have copied Morag in so you can see her email.

In terms of if and how this Neighbourhood Planning approach is rolled out beyond the three current pilot areas I am not able to advise at this stage as we are still in the very early stages of this work. What I would say is that currently only one part of Stonehouse - the Stonehouse- Muirhead East datazone - has been identified as being in the Most deprived 20% of South Lanarkshire.

I have attached a map which may be of help to you.


The following files are the links referred to in the email.