We all know how our local Charrette worked, and the general opinion in the community is that although a small part of the Charrette took the community into consideration, it was mainly an expensive PR exercise which has split and divided the surrounding land amongst developers to profit from.

We have still to see the final benefits (if any) of the Lochgelly Charrette and still to feel the full impact that this process will have had in shaping our town, for better or worse.

Lochgelly wasn’t the only town to have a Charrette led by Andres Duany, so what did the other areas experience, do they reflect what happened in our locality or do the other Charrettes differ in experience from Lochgelly?

SNUB (Stop Norwich UrBanisation)

Having had their own Charrette process, the outcome is the destruction of Thorpe’s Woodland to build a new eco-town. We have already experienced Andres Duany lack of consideration for green space in our local community, yet his distaste for green space doesn’t seem to be a concern for him in other areas as well.

As with the Lochgelly Charrette, this was meant to be a public consultation, however the SNUB campaign have uncovered an interesting fact which shows Andres Dunay does not care for public consultations, and also shows the arrogance behind the self proclaimed leader of New Urbanism

Throughout the Charrette, Duany and his team said they were interested in the views of the people who live in Thorpe, and those who neighbour the woods. However earlier this year, in front of an audience of journalists at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge Massachusetts, Duany put forward the case that the planning process needed to be reformed as it has been usurped by the public, and especially by those people who neighbour the site of the proposed development. He argued consultation should not be with the public in general and especially the locals, instead it should consist of a controlled consultation with a selected group of local citizens, he stated that if this isn’t done the process is taken over by “a bunch of little mobs, invited in by idiot public planners.”

The local people of Thorpe are in the process of fighting to save their woodland, and we wish them every success in their venture. If you would like to learn more about SNUB, their efforts, and provide support or feedback to their campaign, please visit their official site at: www.snubcampaign.org.

You can also visit: http://savethorpewoodlands.blogspot.com/ for further information.

Inverness Charrette

Tornagrain in Inverness was also another town (un)lucky enough to be visited by Andres Duany and his New Urbanism team which proposed the building of a new town next to Tornagrain. However, once more this has caused controversy, with one more town claiming that the Charrette was a charade.

Bruce Strachan chairman of Croy and Culloden Moor Community Council has stated that there is widespread opposition to the new town and has also stated some of his concerns;

You find that services tend to lag behind the development…….We want assurances that services will be in place before the houses are built, if not, then people are going to have to travel, putting pressure on roads and other services………The whole thing is just an exaggerated build-up backed by a lot of propaganda by Moray Estates to create something that is not needed……Not one resident was in favour of this development.

So yet again we see even more controversy over the Charrette process, and all to familiar it suggests that although there was a public consultation process, all the opinions of the public were ignored.

Information sourced from:

Can we get a refund?

This has been an expensive process for all towns involved and every town we looked at seem to have the one thing in common; that the Charrette was not a proper public consultation.

With that in mind can we take Andres Duany to a small claims court for a breach of contract, mainly the lack of public consultation that was supposed to be at the centre and main focus of every Charrette held. Probably not because they did hold public meetings, and it was probably written into the original contract that public feedback can be completely ignored.

Charrette or Charade? New Urbanism or International Con? Is Andres Duany laughing all the way to the bank with our public money? You decide.

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  1. Christine Beveridge

    September 17, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    I’ve looked for a bit of background on Anders Duany and according to Wiki he “is a co-founder and emeritus board member of the Congress for the New Urbanism, established in 1993”. Although I admit to not having read his books, it seems very clear that he has fully formed opinions when it comes to urban planning. A consultation leader should be neutral or it can’t be a consultation but only an information giving session. That is, top down rolling out of what is already agreed at a higher level. Can we write to the grant giving body and inform them that they may have been mislead?

    Christine Beveridge


    • Lochgelly

      September 18, 2010 at 11:11 am

      I personally believe that Andres pushed his own self serving agenda, rather than a true public consultation. I also think it is a good idea writing to the grant body with a constructed argument as I do feel you are right that people have been misled. But with the amount of money being spent on the Charrettes across the UK, I do not think anything will get done about it, as it will embarrass the people that agreed to spend the money.


  2. sam

    September 23, 2010 at 8:43 pm

    I totally agree with all that has been said. I attended all the evening meetings and some of the day time ones. My impression of the man was one of total arrogance and ignorance of the people of Lochgelly not only that he wasn’t interested in us only of his own agenda. The fact that on the last night he delivered his final proposal and then wouldn’t answer questions only shows how full of his own importance he is. He was being paid with public money,(our money) and to show such contempt for the people of Lochgelly that he wasn’t prepared to take questions (because he was tired) is really not accepteble. He has left a lot of ill feeling in the town but he has his money , is away and will never be back. I still fail to see how someone from America had to come to us to tell us how to live.


    • kirsty macleod

      April 7, 2015 at 4:49 pm

      Hi there!

      am doing research on Charrettes at the moment and why the Government seems to favour this kind of public planning tool.
      I want to get feedback on the process and if anyone would please take part in my survey i would be very greatfull.


  3. John Allaway

    November 2, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Good to see your piece on the Thorpe woodlands, and thanks for your expression of good wishes. The Thorpe woodlands proposed development was promoted under the name of the ‘Belmore Park Charette’ and would entail destroying 200+ acres of superb woodland wildlife habitat to build 800 houses. It is a different devlopment to the ‘eco-town’ you refer to, though Friends of Thorpe Woodlands and SNUB are campaigning co-operatively in the same area near Norwich. The charette was a charade in its literal sense. Duany et al began by telling everyone they wanted the views of local people on how much housing would be considered acceptable in the woods. The answer was a resounding NONE. At the charette’s final presentation, Duany announced the figure of 631 houses. Last week we discovered that the landowners have increased this to up to 800.

    Please refer to our blog for plenty of interesting info on the scheme, the charette & Duany. http://savethorpewoodlands.blogspot.com


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