Watch This Space! – Watchmeal Crescent Improvements

Community Links were appointed by Knowes Housing Association to lead on the development of design proposals and community consultation for the community garden at Watchmeal Crescent, Faifley. With very tight timescales until submission of the Stage 2 Community Spaces Application, we launched the project with a community day for the local Watchmeal residents. Luckily the weather held (which was good, as our marquee didn’t) and the event was reasonably well attended. Numbers were boosted through the addition of Streetlinks’ climbing wall, nail bar and face painters; with the din of the bell being rung by young people when they reached the top of the wall – reminding many that the event was on!

A series of consultation events have been on-going over the last few weeks – to ensure that the needs and aspirations of the local community are included within the design proposals. Questionnaires went out to all 132 properties that back onto the area, and while the initial response was disappointing, we have been using a variety of other techniques to get feedback. The community event brought many additional residents out, and questionnaires were duly completed. In addition, we used participative techniques that sought residents opinions and ideas – which have been used to help us develop the design proposals. Door-to-door consultation will be used to increase the response rate of the questionnaires and a newsletter is currently being prepared and will be delivered to all residents – advising of the development of the project so far.Watchmeal Crescent_design proposal

Louise Bacon, one of our landscape architects, is currently working closely with the steering group, which comprises six local residents and two Knowes Housing Association staff. The steering group meets every six weeks, and discusses the development of the design, the community consultation and importantly the development of the project outcomes – which will be vital to the development and the success of the Stage 2 Community Spaces Application.

A series of site visits have been planned with the steering group to see examples of successful community projects across Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire.

Following the community event, a design has been prepared that has been built on feedback from the local community and work previously undertaken by Knowes Housing Association. The proposal is to create a more open space, conducive to community interaction. One of the main problems with the area at the moment is that it is simply seen as bin park and a place to walk dogs. While there are two very old play areas – these are in a poor condition and are a target for anti-social behaviour. Key to the success of this project, both to target potential funders and to ensure the long term sustainability of any improvements, is to ensure that the local community are involved at all stages. From the consultation work, it is evident that there is a need for facilities for young people and we are keen to link these together by making art a feature of the site. We are proposing to use art to work with groups of young people to create a series of informal play facilities across the site. On bin day, the area is dominated by upwards of 130 bins – so the design of the area needs to account for these and ensure that such areas can be of wider use to the local community.

Development of the design, in partnership with the steering group, will continue into July and August, with a final community event being planned for the beginning of September to present the design development to the local community.

The Big Lottery’s Community Spaces Application needs to be submitted to the Big Lottery in October 2012.

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