Glentress Masterplanning process an example of ‘how it should be done’
Forestry and Land Scotland’s (FLS) approach to creating a master plan for development at Glentress has been hailed as an example of ‘how it should be done’.
The FLS case study is one of 11 in a new Scottish Land Commission report that highlights the many benefits of greater community involvement in the early stages of development proposals.
Benefits include helping to produce better places, speeding up delivery of new developments and shaping the quality of the places that Scotland needs.
Sallie Bailey, FLS’s South Region Manager, said;
“From the beginning of the Glentress Masterplanning process we understood that creating a truly successful plan to extend visitor stay in the area and boost the local economy would involve community and business input.
“By strengthening relationships with these groups right from the start we were able to discuss ideas with them, listen to and respond to concerns, take ideas on board and even identify and address more quickly some problems that hadn’t initially been apparent.
“Early engagement was also very important in letting us work with community partners to ensure that FLS and Glentress would complement - rather than compete with - other local initiatives that were also looking to grow the market.”
Glentress Forest is one a number of FLS forests in the Tweed Valley and it is a key component in the Scottish Borders’ tourism offer. It attracts over 300,000 visitors per years and over 20 years has grown to become one of the UK’s premier mountain biking destinations.
Development plans for Glentress aimed to ensure that important forest resources continue to be accessible to the public and offer a range of activities. However, an important aspect of the plans – the construction of 50 new holiday cabins by FLS partner, Forest Holidays – had the potential to meet with considerable opposition.
Thanks to the process of early engagement, the masterplan won community support, which opened the door to gaining planning consent and attracting new investment to the local economy.
“This way of working was so successful that the masterplan was adopted by the local authority as Supplementary Guidance – a first for FLS – to guide future planning applications!”
The benefits of early engagement described in the Land Commission report sit alongside a range of benefits described in land reform guidance and the planning review.
Notes to editors
Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Ministers in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and supports Scottish Ministers in their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.