Cuparians are being invited to have their say on how to make their town centre better, thanks to the launch of a new initiative.
The recently-formed Cupar Development Trust announced this week that it’s secured funding to hold a charrette, an intensive period of community consultation aimed at creating an action plan of town centre improvements.
It’s an idea that has worked well in other areas of Fife and has had positive results.
A steering group met in Cupar for the first time this week and will get the charrette ball rolling in January.
The project is being led by Julia Frost, operations manager of the charity PAS, previously more widely known as Planning Aid Scotland.
Among the first activities on the agenda will be workshops in Cupar’s two primary schools, Castlehill and St Columba’s, as well as Bell Baxter High School.
They’ll be followed up by further workshops, meetings and discussions with a wide range of community groups that will culminate with an intensive ‘design studio’ to be held in the Corn Exchange from March 17-20.
All the feedback and ideas will then be collated and an action plan presented to the community for approval.
“We want to hear what people want to see happen in the town centre that would make it better for them,” said David Kirk of Cupar Development Trust.
“We will be engaging with all age groups and as many organisations and businesses in the town as possible to find out what matters to them.
“The aim is to put together an action plan that will bring economic, social and cultural benefits to the town centre and promote a sense of pride in Cupar.”
The word ‘charrette’ is derived from the French word for cart and the concept has its roots in the practice of architecture students in the early 1800s, who used carts to rush their drawings from one place to another to get final approvals.
Its success lies in the intensity of the process, which involves taking the ideas generated by one group and ‘carting’ them to the next group to be developed, refined and ultimately prioritised.
Funding for the Cupar initiative came in the form of grants from the Big Lottery’s Awards for All scheme, Fife Council and the Scottish Government, whose contribution is time-limited.
It complements the Cupar Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS) and Townscape Heritage Initiative, currently being implemented by Fife Historic Buildings Trust, which aims to revitalise the historic buildings and closes within the town centre conservation area.
Said Julia: “This offers the opportunity to identify the needs and priorities of the communties and create a vision for the furture of the town.
“We want to meet with any many people as possible between now and March.”
Julia can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org