Coldean Community : Have Your Say II & more... by Ian Bailey

During May & June Studio Sevens and the Brighton & Hove Community Land Trust hosted two more Have Your Say meetings in Coldean. These explored further the key themes which were developed from the initial meeting; Green Spaces, Affordable Family Housing, Community Connections & Community Facilities.

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During these meetings members of the community came together to specifically investigate how these themes might develop into tangible projects which would benefit the local people. Small groups of people naturally coalesced around these themes based on their own interests and  working with a combination of collaborative discussion groups, brainstorming and analogue mapping techniques based on local experience they explored opportunities, concerns and associated factors to the development of projects for each one.

These projects vary significantly in their potential outcomes, but carry a common theme of benefitting the community of Coldean in one way or another. Community sports facilities, adult education & meeting spaces, encouraging bio-diversity on the green spaces within the built environment, tree planting and children's play spaces, affordable community owned family housing, cooperative productive food growing spaces, road safety and infrastructure development; all of these different opportunities are all being investigated.

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The next stage will be for the small groups who are taking ownership of these ideas developing them, seeking funding, collaborating with agencies both local and national to enable them to grow and facilitate change. We expect there to be another meeting in the autumn where the groups will feedback to each other on the progress they have made and begin to support one another further with their own learning and experience. In the meantime Studio Sevens will continue to seek funding support for developing a neighbourhood plan which encompasses many of the values and the shared vision for the community which has come out of the meetings to date.

What happens next has the potential to impact the current residents of Coldean positively of course, but more importantly it carries the opportunity to make the area sustainable for the next generation of residents. This relates as much to local infrastructure such as affordable housing, education, health & well being and local facilities as it does to developing a shared vision and common values that help to bind people together as a community.