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'What can be done differently?' asks Highland Council

By Philip Murray

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The survey is seeking residents' views.
The survey is seeking residents' views.

Views are being sought after Highland Council launched a new survey aimed at gauging residents' "lived experiences" of life in the region.

The "major" new survey aims to find out what is good about the various Highland communities and what could be done differently – and will help it plan how "land and buildings are used" in communities.

The local authority says it plans to use the surveys to help shape its future plans for the region - and hopes to learn as much as possible about people's experiences of living, working, visiting and investing in the Highlands.

The findings will help shape the council’s next Local Development Plan, and it is seeking feedback under several main themes – movement, spaces, resources, civic, and stewardship. It aims to highlight what needs to be protected, changed, or improved "so we have what is needed for the future".

Councillor Ken Gowans, chairman of the council’s economy and infrastructure sommittee, said: “We will use views shared via our new Place Standard Tool as evidence to plan for how land and buildings are used in communities and across Highland. We hope this analysis will help the Council, partner agencies and community groups target valuable time and money to make a difference to what matters locally.

“You can complete the Place Standard tool as an individual or as part of a group. We will be promoting its use widely and are liaising with services and partners, such as High Life Highland, who can help encourage and facilitate wide participation. The aim of the Place Standard Tool is to provide us with valuable input to a range of council workstreams including the next Local Development Plan, the Highland Outcome Improvement Plan, place plans and day-to-day service delivery.”

The survey can be found at www.highland.gov.uk/yourplacehighland.

Responses to this survey will be treated anonymously. The council will share anonymised analysis with suitably registered community groups who want to develop proposals for better places, to agree priorities, and to take action.

The Highland Place Standard survey will be open until the end of May.

Alongside the survey, a number of community bodies across Highland are also taking up the opportunity to prepare Local Place Plans. More information is available on the Council’s Local Place Plan webpages on which additional advice and guidance has been launched today, including templates that community bodies may wish to use.

Further information on the programme of work to prepare the new Local Development Plan, including evidence gathering during 2024 and opportunities to get involved, is available in the council’s latest Development Plans Newsletter published today and on the council’s Highland Local Development Plan webpage.

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