Thursday, February 02, 2012

Ensuring community control beyond the charrette

The drawings on the maps by the facilitators are taking shape on the walls up in the Courthouse as the discussions continue. I must say that this observer is perhaps a little concerned that it is always 3-4 of the usual suspects that dominate the "input" from the "community" and there should really be more from others although, I must confess to not having been to all of the sessions, so maybe others have been to the fore too. Even though I might agree with, perhaps, most of what the usual suspects have to say I can't help thinking that others may be intimidated by their constant comments, much of which is of a highly articulate nature. But, is it all necessary, and are others remaining silent if they feel that what they have to say will be considered as not as intellectually important as that of those who have the gift of public speaking?

That aside I personally feel that Julian Farrar is a very fair master of ceremonies and he seems to be on the side of the community. To the fore earlier today was the concept that the community retain control of the appearance of the development through the Common Good Fund - that will be down to ownership issues of course. Mention of all this should be in the outline of the brief which will emerge. Of course, as mentioned in other posts, we are projecting into the future here with wish lists and layouts etc and there will have to be continuing consultation/charrettes if, and when, developers come along. Generally a positive feeling from this observer and that down to the presence and wisdom of Mr Farrar.


APTSec said...

There is a contradiction here. On the one hand you say that Mr Farrar is a very fair master of ceremonies but on the other you highlight the very real possibility that some attendees did feel intimidated by the presence of more articulate community members who tended to dominate the conversation.

It is surely down to the skills of the facilitator to be aware of the 'needs' of those participating and to balance the inputs accordingly.

A lot of preparation could and should have been done before hand to ensure that all attending could get the maximum from the process.

Over the years (mostly in my pre-planning days) I have had a fair bit of experience re getting people involved and building their confidence. As far as Planning is concerned we all have the 'National Standards for Community Engagement to help us all along - if only the powers that be would give some serious consideration to how to use them effectively and meaningfullly.

Pol McPot said...

It is very worrying that some of the participants in such an exercise offer articulate and even intellectual comments. We need to beware of such people. They are rightly described as "suspects".

It would be much better if they kept quiet. Then we could be sure that the views of the silent majority would prevail and the authorities would do what is right.

Graisg said...

This observer was told more than once during the charrette by attendees that they considered some longer comments a "turn-off".
A plea then for more brevity from this observer or a reaction against some of the more vocal usual suspects could get under way and the silent majority may no longer wish to support initiatives from the like of NICE (currently enjoying a silent majority of 54.62% in Gurnshire).

It was in fact one of the usual suspects that identified a problem here earlier in the week. Remember John Hart in the Academey on Tuesday night:
John Hart expressed his concern that the predominance of people there were the old Sandown lags gobbing off. “So we’ve got to encourage other people to go in and make their number and have a look at it,” he said.

I would again suggest that some people might be put off because they feel that to speak at such events in Nairn you have to have a level of debating skills fit for the Oxford Union. There will be other reasons too. I did see some people look through the door into the chamber during some of the more lenghty exchanges. They turned tail and away - for whatever reason they considered it not to be their environment.