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Towns given power to transform neighbourhoods

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By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Front
Towns given power to transform neighbourhoods

A DRIVE for local communities to shape the future development of their neighbourhoods has proved overwhelmingly popular.

Dumfries and Galloway Council has offered communities across the region the opportunity to set up local place plans (LPPs) – which gives power to the people to transform where they live.

This bottom-up approach offered by LPPs is “empowering communities to achieve their ambitions by working in partnership with the council”, according to a new report.

So far, 30 expressions of interest have been received from community groups, 13 of which are moving forward with preparing an LPP.

These include groups across the region, from Castle Douglas Community Council in the Stewartry and Langholm Alliance in Annandale and Eskdale, to Dumfries Partnership Action Group in Nithsdale.

However, this influx of interest has surprised council officers – to the point where they are struggling to resource it – and they expect more community groups will come forward as the word spreads about LPPs.

As a result, officials are requesting that more money is invested in the project so that two additional officers can be employed to help implement it.

Funding for local place plans support has been in place from 2021/22 and concludes in March 2024, therefore long term funding needs to be secured.

The team currently comprises of one team leader and three economic development officers. The total draw from the council budget is

£250,000 per annum, rising to £263,000 next year.

Councillors sitting on the economy and resources committee will decide this week on whether or not to approve funding for the continuation of the local place plans project in 2025/26, along with the addition of two more staff members.

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