Consultation, consultation, consultation: on land use and allotments

The Scottish land question, eh? I mean, it keeps getting asked. This blog is a short but convoluted story about the land questions the Scottish Government keeps asking.

First, there came the exploratory consultation on the Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill. Embedded within the fifty page questionnaire and the consultation document, the word “allotment” featured 16 times.

As non-controversial statements go, it seems plausible that vibrant and properly used allotments can be part of community empowerment and renewal, so it seems proper allotments are part of this.

Then there came the Land Reform Review Group, In its Call for Evidence, a degree of overlap to with the above consultation was noted, as follows:

Where you have already made a relevant submission in connection with the Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill consultation, you may wish to refer to these responses in your LRRG submissions and indeed copy your responses – with additional comments as appropriate – to LRRG.

Basically, the LRRG is not restricted to rural land. Urban land also matters. That would include the use of allotments, so again there is a certain logic in the overlap.

Now, we have a new consultation, on The Legislative Framework Governing Allotments. Here it is noted:

As part of our vision for strengthening Scotland’s communities, the Scottish Government brought forward a consultation (summer 2012) that explored the possible content of a Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill (CERB). This consultation specifically sought views on whether, and how, current allotments legislation may need to be changed. A separate consultation is now being taken forward that is seeking to explore further the ways in which the legislation relating to allotments may be amended. Your views will help us define more clearly what shape any future legislation in this area may take.

More consultation? Is there such a things as consultation fatigue? If so, I wonder if the Scottish Government might ponder that when they get a low response rate (or some very familiar looking, re-hashed responses) to this specific allotment consultation.

Oh, and you will recall the original consultation was just an exploratory consultation. More consultation will follow on community empowerment and renewal.

Would it be unfair to infer that there seems to be a lot of focus on talking about doing things, rather than actually doing them? I do wonder when the actual proposals, never mind any reforming legislation, will finally be tabled.

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About basedrones

Bachelor of Laws. Scots lawyer working at the University of Aberdeen. English law qualified. Took far too long to write this bio. Blogs on legal issues, with occasional veering into other purportedly intellectual stuff from time to time. Tweets about legal issues, education, law clinics, fitba, music, rogue cell division and not at all about politics at @MalcolmCombe.
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5 Responses to Consultation, consultation, consultation: on land use and allotments

  1. Oh dear I thought as I read all those buzz words ‘Vibrant’ and ‘Empowerment’ and ‘Community Renewal’. As I have pointed out elsewhere the entire history of ‘regeneration’ across the UK has signally failed in the dimensions of community engagement or participation – and even more so in ’empowerment’ (some professionals in the field have to be reminded of the difference). In my own response to the Scottish Government’s consultation (yes another one) on a regeneration strategy back in 2011, I submitted details of the wide evidence base on these failures. The Scottish Government’s consultation paper had anyway seemingly disregarded the contents of its own preceding publications on the lack of learning in this field. We most recently had another (yes another) consultation on regeneration, this time from a Scottish Parliament Committee. That ‘consultation’ followed the now-standard Scottish Government procedure of laying out what pre-determined questions they want answered, and even instructing you on the limits as to how much you can say in response. Like many others, I declined to participate and legitimise such an exercise. Of those responses that did go in , many were presumably from the familiar set – often long-established intermediary NGO bodies and organisations, with over-familiar contents and nothing radical.

    A senior official from a Community Planning Partnership (what an odd title for such a entity) recently was complaining at a seminar about how ‘they’ are not really interested or excited about participation. He cited the very low turn-out at publci meetings and even lower response rates to survey. Two matters he seemed un-appreciative on; 1) The very term ‘consultation’ is becoming a byword for cynicism and pointless activity; all of the people are not stupid all of the times, and they have sussed this out about ‘comnsultation’. 2) The term’apathy’

  2. This is interesting about apathy and consultation, with a planning focus: http://www.ted.com/talks/dave_meslin_the_antidote_to_apathy.html

  3. lukedevlin says:

    Quite right Edward. I’m working on a new model of ‘Grounded Regeneration’ from within communities that stands in oppositional relation to the top-down poverty industry which has had such a spectacular lack of success in areas like Govan, where I live.

  4. Lukedevlin we should maybe link up. I’ve been involved in a peripheral way with some of the good folks seeking to protect priceless ancient heritage of Water Row from the depredations of those in authority who are impregnating the site with a tarmaced, pay-barricaded car-park (Govan being an area of such high car-ownership and awe that #irony). Govan surely has to be the classic case of failed regeneration – decades upon decades of activity, a still-continuing array of regeneration agencies, intermediaries and organisations that ‘arrive’ and stay awhile, and ten of millions (unmeasured?) of public pounds spent to get to where it’s stuck at? Unfortunately, that kind of scenario can have its counterpoint in various ‘community’ bodies and individuals who take it upon themselves to oppose anything and everything attempted on the basis they ‘are the community’ or ‘speak for the community’. The allotment movement is, among other things, an example of people getting down to it, and getting on with it 🙂

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