MEMBERS of the Forfar and Area Partnership had much to discuss at their November meeting including planning issues and upcoming local events.
A major part of the meeting was taken up by a presentation from the local authority’s development plan manager who discussed the recently released ‘Main Issues Report’.
In the Forfar area, the strategy for a new Local Development Plan is to focus on the development of a range of existing sites highlighted in the 2009 Local Plan Review.
Members also heard that the preferred option is for the release of additional land for housing at Turfbeg, between the existing housing and the Forfar to Kirriemuir road. Alternatives have also been suggested at Westfield and Suttieside.
Meanwhile, Angus Council is consulting on proposals to make the one-way system on Castle Street permanent. Partnership members were unanimous in their support for this proposal, citing pedestrian safety and traffic flow as two of the main improvements. Members did agree to suggest that Castle Street could be further improved by making provision for additional on-street parking.
The Local Community Planning Team (LCPT) is working with the Partnership and community council to organise a community event in January, designed to bring groups in the area together to discuss ideas and priorities for the Forfar area.
As a first step in this process, the LPCT has sent out questionnaires to over 50 groups in the Forfar area, asking for their views in order to finalise the structure of the January event.
The Partnership agreed to complete this questionnaire and welcomed this development as a positive move forward for Forfar and District.
Angus Council is also consulting on proposed closures of playparks across the county, with a number of these in the Forfar area. The Partnership acknowledged that the current level of playpark provision in the area provides good coverage and recognised that some parks are in a better state of repair than others, with those in the poorest state often made worse by anti-social behaviour and vandalism.
However, members agreed that they could not support proposals to remove any of the playparks as, regardless of the quality of the equipment offered, they still provide an essential facility for young people in the area.
Elsewhere, ‘The Friday Night Project’ continues to be a great success with over 200 young people signed up for the project who continue to enjoy the variety of activities on offer and are able to suggest new ideas for additional activities.
One new component of the project is music tuition which is linked to the successful BandSlam project which will run again towards the end of the year.
Plans for Tartan Week 2013 are already underway and one event has already been confirmed with the Highland dancing competition organised in conjunction with the Liz Low School of Dance.
Gala Week 2013 is also in the early stages of planning, with members hopeful of another successful week of events, culminating in Gala Day itself.
The organisation of the events has relied on the hard work of a small group of individuals and they would welcome any support and assistance that could be offered in order to ensure that Gala Week remains a key part of the summer in Forfar.
Tied in with these various events is the ongoing promotion of Fairtrade in Forfar.
The town has been a Fairtrade Town since May and far from resting on their laurels, members of the Forfar Fair Trade Forum continue to organise a number of events to highlight the Fairtrade message. As such, a large event is currently being planned for Saturday, March 2, 2013, during Fairtrade Fortnight.
Finally, towards the end of the month, East and Old Parish Church is organising a Mistletoe Market on Saturday, November 24, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the church.
Following the Christmas lights switch-on on Thursday, November 29, the church will be offering a supper from 7.30 p.m. Rounding off a busy period for the church is a Christmas concert, which will start at 6.30 p.m. on Sunday, December 2.
The Forfar and Area Partnership exists to work on projects and events which improve the quality of life of the people of Forfar and surrounding area, to comment on and respond to requests for consultation and engagement from public services and to voice the collective opinion of members or matters of interest or importance.
Involvement and participation is welcomed from all, either individually or as a representative of another group in Forfar.
If you are interested in becoming involved please contact Fiona McCash on 07828 744598 or Lee Haxton on 01307 474788 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next meeting of the Forfar and Area Partnership will take place on Tuesday, December 4, at 7 p.m. in East and Old Parish Church.
New members will be most welcome.