New plan unveiled by Largo trust to help create ‘thriving’ communities
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Largo Communities Together is a vision for an area which covers Largo, Lundin Links and several villages stretching from Silverburn up to the boundary of Ceres - and the team behind it want it to be a blueprint which leads to actions and support.
The Local Place Plan and Community Plan are two documents created by the trust and Largo Area Community Council which, put together, could lead to a “thriving, sustainable community” – in short, the pages set out the aims and aspirations of the people who live and work in the area.
The place plan is rich in detail. It covers everything from traffic and pedestrian safety improvements, to preserving heritage and the environment, travel plans, and housing. It has been a huge undertaking by the volunteer members of the trust supported by Priya Logan, its development officer.
She said: “It is not a dry plan. It captures what local people are already enthusiastic about and where their energies are going. It’s easy to find out what people are unhappy about, but it is important to also know what they are passionate about.”And across the Largo area, they found people with a real desire to see their area improved and developed. Launched in 2017, the trust has some 350 members - 10% of those eligible to vote in the area - and for Alistair Brown, its role is to listen and make sure people’s voices are then heard.
“We have taken the past, we are in the present and the future will be community action plan,” he said “Our job is to keep engaging with people so we are aware of any changes in voices.”The trust has set up a number of sub groups to focus specific passions and knowledge on key areas as it takes its remit across a huge range of issues. It wants to see community assets such as the Simpson Institute retained, while tapping into the area’s rich heritage, with more done to promote and celebrate its links to Alexander Selkirk.
Its coastal setting is perfect to explore more use of beach wheelchairs to improve accessibility to the shore, while new pathways could open up the great outdoors even further. The Friends of Largo Bay has taken off with huge enthusiasm – it is one of several sub groups at the heart of the plan – and that could open the door to tackling major issues such as upgrading sewage works, expanding wooded areas, and preserving Largo Pier.
There is also a desire to create better, safer travel routes between villages, and a desire to bring retail back to Largo as well as looking at traffic calming measures and pedestrian crossings; everything designed to improve the environment for those who live and visit the area.
Housing - and how to make it affordable and sustainable - is another key issue. The trust is looking at community led housing as one new way of tackling a growing problem. That model could see home built and sold locally for under the market value, but that same deal then offered to the next buyer.
Louise Robb, who chairs the trust, said: “It is a different type of housing market, but one that is is genuinely affordable. Many people live here but their children can’t afford to. This way could be one of the answers.”
The blueprint aims to start those discussions and also tap into the projects and ventures that are people’s passions. Largo is one of 230 community trusts across Scotland. In common with others it operates on goodwill and time of its volunteers, but it wants to create a model that ensures it has a long-term voice to help build a thriving community.”
The bottom line is to make a “significant impact” on the area, and make it a better, more sustainable place to live, work and play.
Added Louise: “We don’t want to over promise. We have to be self sustaining. We can apply for funding but we need to be able to stand on our own.”