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July 7, 2010

Knowledge is power

Whatever a community wants to do – whether it is taking over the village hall, constructing a wind farm, buying the local pub or managing some local woodland – there is one area of specialist knowledge that they all need to know about– the planning system.  Recent legislation has introduced big changes to the system that have massive implications for communities.  Help is at hand.

Planning Aid for Scotland launches new scheme to help community groups

Planning Aid for Scotland (PAS) has launched a new mentoring scheme to help community groups take advantage of their local resources in areas such as a renewable energy scheme, community hall, allotments, or affordable housing by offering free planning advice and training to rural community groups.

The launch of the scheme demonstrates the growth and development of Planning Aid for Scotland and the increasing demand for impartial planning advice, information and support.

Robert Patrick, the new PAS Mentoring Co-ordinator, said, “Understanding the planning system is vital for community groups who want to develop their local resources for the benefit of local people, in areas such as renewable energy, allotments and community centres. The new Planning Mentoring Scheme links PAS with voluntary sector CVS organisations and will provide planning advice and guidance to community projects across rural Scotland.

“Key to the scheme is the PAS role in helping to empower people in an independent and impartial way. This new initiative will guide and provide technical expertise to projects at different stages of their development. The unique PAS network of volunteers, all planning professionals, will provide guidance and advice, demonstrating the positive side of planning that allows people to shape their own neighbourhoods.”