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Gallatown Gateway

gateway - before  after webAs part of the physical regeneration of Gallatown in Kirkcaldy a site on Cairns Street East was earmarked for development.

Local people had identified this need as expressed concerns about derelict buildings and a public walkthrough area which had become the focus for anti-social behaviour.   Funds were secured from the Scottish Government to address these issues.

The need to maximise the involvement of the community was a critical pathway to building confidence and trust, developing a good relationship with local residents and nurturing community participation.   The success or failure of this project would reach far beyond the physical improvements made.

Significant staff time and other resources were made available to engage with local people through neighbourhood pop-up cafes, community lunches, discussions with children and young people in 3 primary and 2 secondary schools.   Online engagement was also covered through social media and a web based questionnaire.

Drawings had been prepared by an independent architect as a discussion tool. Local people felt strongly that the area should be traffic free and completely for recreational purposes.   One young P6 pupil spotted the need for this and suggested the access route to the car park be relocated.   This was echoed by adults also and led to significant negotiations with the design team to incorporate this key element into the plans due to the weight of public opinion.

Kevin Stewart MSP, Minister for Local Government visited the project during the final stages of completion and was so impressed about the story involving Jason, the P6 pupil, Jason, that he wanted to write to him to thank him for his idea and contribution. Some time had passed and tracking down Jason was no easy task, however with the detective skills of CLD and school staff, Jason, who is now at High School, has now received recognition from the Minister.

 

Apart from the obvious physical improvements which aesthetically make the site much more attractive, people feel safer, children now play there, and even more significantly local people have shaped the development in much more than a tokenistic way.   The engagement which was planned using VOiCE and has led to contacts with significant numbers of individuals who have become involved or want to participate in the local community in some way.   One new activist commented recently that, "At the beginning I thought that the Council didn’t listen, and really didn’t care.   I was wrong.   They are listening and things are changing".

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