Ballater and Braemar pupils planning ahead

Upper Deeside school children in the Cairngorms National Park will find out more about how and why their local area is shaped from a planning perspective this week.

Planners from Planning Aid for Scotland (PAS) will work with P4-7 school pupils from Ballater and Braemar Primary Schools on how their local environment is shaped.

The ‘In My Back Yard’ project has been designed by PAS to introduce school pupils across Scotland to the planning process. This involves making choices, compromise, considering different needs and long-term thinking.

The event being held at Ballater Primary School is being organised in conjunction with the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA).

Senior Planning Officer, Mary Grier, said: “A volunteer planning professional has visited both primary schools to introduce some basic concepts of planning to the children. Using a local, hypothetical case study, the children will now look at the present, past and potential future use of the area, discussing needs and benefits to different members of the community. How their local area has been designed and developed, who makes planning decisions and some of the planning processes will also be addressed.”

The programme is aligned to the Scottish Government’s Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). It is a positive approach to engaging with children in local planning and the built environment, encouraging active citizenship – a key element in CfE.

Louise Duckworth from Ballater Primary School said: “Developing a greater awareness of their local environment through projects like ‘In My Back Yard’ helps encourage children to understand the many and varied factors that must be taken into account when effectively planning and undertaking new developments. It will be interesting to find out how they respond to these, especially using the backdrop of the Cairngorms National Park.”

A CNPA Board member will be invited to take part in a presentation by the children at a later date.

CNPA Deputy Planning Chairman, Peter Argyle, said: “Effective planning helps maintain the National Park as a special place for people and nature. Engaging with young people like this therefore helps to develop long-term awareness of their surroundings which in turn helps develop sustainable future communities.”