We are delighted that Clare Symonds will be giving BSCG a talk about improving planning in Scotland on Wednesday 30 March in Carrbridge village Hall at 7.30pm. Clare is the founder and chair of Planning Democracy and has been recognised in the Scottish Sustainable Development Forum’s Green List for her work to improve community engagement in Scottish planning. Clare has worked on community empowerment issues in both local government and the voluntary sector strengthening her belief that a robust, democratic planning system is crucial for shaping fairer and more sustainable places.

2016 March talk Clare Symonds poster

Planning Democracy is a national charity established in 2009 with the aim of strengthening democracy by promoting a stronger public voice in the Scottish land-use planning system. Planning Democracy was established in response to growing concerns from individuals and groups who found that Scotland's planning reforms, implemented in 2009, had made little difference to their ability to understand and influence the planning process. There is a perceived failure of democratic planning which has resulted in many people feeling dis-empowered, and unable to influence what happens in their own areas. The concern it holds is that this situation leads to development being strongly dictated by market forces and has huge implications for social and environmental injustices. Planning Democracy wants to ensure the public is fairly and equitably involved in the planning process believing this will lead to more locally accountable, robust planning decisions, driven by need rather than profit.

Planning Democracy is a campaigning and influencing charity. It is the only organisation in Scotland representing the community perspective and promoting cultural and structural changes to facilitate greater public participation in Scotland's planning system.

With growing calls for a fairer and more balanced planning system and with an election for the Scottish Parliament approaching, Clare’s talk that will encompass some of the range of the work of Planning Democracy promises to be particularly timely.