New Visions for Wick and Thurso

by Charles Campion,

Partner, John Thompson & Partners


JTP’s  recent work with the Highland Council and the communities of Wick and Thurso (sponsored by the Scottish Government Charrette Mainstreaming Programme) employed multi-day, Charrette methodologies to create new town Visions, to inform the Main Issues Report for the Caithness & Sutherland Local Development Plan (LDP).  Developing long term Visions can unlock the true potential of communities to work together in a creative way, leading to better and more sustainable places.


The Wick and Thurso Charrettes were held at the beginning of the LDP process where the input of the community can have optimal impact.  Two days of public workshops gave all sections of the community the time and space to take part, as well as participate in walkabouts and hands-on planning groups and to consider key issues and plan ideas for the future. The facilitation and design team (led by JTP with Gillespies) then developed the outcomes, and on the final evenings of the Charrettes, presented back illustrated Visions for the future of the towns.


The well-attended Wick and Thurso Charrettes met with a positive reaction from both the community and, importantly, from the local press. The leading article in the John O’Groats Journal (25 February 2013) described project options being selected and refined via “a thoroughly democratic process” and went on to say: “we believe this gives a mandate for the projects to be taken forward within the new development plans for both towns.”


In mid-October 2013, Pittsburgh is holding the 25th anniversary of the Remaking Cities Congress to share current best practice on charrettes from both sides of the Atlantic.  John Thompson and I will be attending and we look forward to presenting the Scottish Government programme as an exemplar of best practice in contemporary community planning.


For more information on Remaking Cities: