By Doug Wheeler: Douglas Wheeler Associates Ltd


The mini-charrette that was held in March, focused on developing a spatial strategy for housing development for the South Wishaw area. This was not to be a full public charrette and instead the aim was to engage with invited community representatives, council staff, land owners, housing developers and other stakeholders in a  shorter in duration event, hence ‘mini-charrette’

North Lanarkshire Council (NLC) is currently embarking on the preparation of its first Local Development Plan (LDP) with a view to publishing the Main Issues Report in late 2013.  The Council was at the pre-Main Issues Report phase and wanted to develop and implement an engagement strategy to encompass a wide range of stakeholders but in a more collaborative way than that deployed under the previous legislative framework.

The Council also intended to use the outcome of the mini-charrette to facilitate a ‘Call for Sites’ consultation to provide an early opportunity for interested parties to suggest sites for development and/or have their use(s) changed.  Housing development within the South Wishaw Community Growth Area (CGA) had also not taken place at the pace originally envisaged. Therefore NLC were also required to re-examine the effectiveness of land supply in the South Wishaw housing submarket area and the mini- charrette was seen as a key way to address this.

South Wishaw: Mini-Charrette Requirements

The Austin-Smith: Lord/Douglas Wheeler Associates (A-S:L/DWA) led team were commissioned by Scottish Government (SG) in early March 2013 to facilitate the South Wishaw mini-charrette working with but independent of NLC officers.  Nearly 70 people were involved over an intense and focussed two and half day (12/13/14 March).  The team used the mini-charrette to work up and test a framework based on the following four components in a sequential process:

  • Identifying and using five scenarios;
  • Agreeing eight appraisal criteria to test specific typical housing sites in South Wishaw;
  • Illustrating various housing development typologies for specific sites;
  • Identifying a preferred emerging spatial strategy.

Mini Charrette Outcome: Shaping Call For Sites

As a result of the mini charrette, NLC intend that the burden of justifying the inclusion of sites through the LDP should fall on those making the submissions.  Therefore, a set of criteria and parameters has been formulated from the mini charrette that is the basis of the  submission form.  The criteria have been tailored to establish the deliverability/effectiveness of housing and other types of proposals, such as industrial, business, and retail or leisure development. See NLC’s Call for Sites further information.

Team: Austin-Smith: Lord/Douglas Wheeler Associates Ltd; Transport Planning Limited; Ryden (property market); AECOM (ground conditions/hydrology/engineering) and Neilson Partnership (cost planning).

You can find background on the charrette at