What is the Charter?
The Community Charter is a rights-based document that sets out all the things in our local area which residents have agreed are fundamental to the present and future health of our communities. These “assets” include a clean environment, our children, our homes, our community stability, a rich eco-system, food security, a healthy economy and trustworthy elected representatives.
We say these form our “cultural heritage”, which must be assessed under environmental regulations for all developments which potentially threaten our “assets”, such as the Dart application.
The Charter also sets out our rights and responsibilities to participate in planning processes that could affect our assets, and to have our views made a material consideration in all related decisions.
In September 2014, with the agreement of the four Falkirk community councils who have so far adopted the Charter, the explicit mention of coal bed methane extraction was removed to ensure neutrality as to what type of planning development constitutes a risk (the original version of the charter is still available on this site).
How did the Charter come to be?
The co-creation of the Community Mandate caused local people to ask “why isn’t our community being adequately protected?”
This led to further meetings in April-May 2013 where residents, parents and community councilors discussed and agreed on what they really valued locally, and on a set of principles by which they could ensure these would be safeguarded. A team comprising lawyers, ex-lawyers and consultants helped the community draft these outcomes into the Charter. On 24th June, Larbert, Stenhousemuir and Torwood Community Council became the first elected political body in the UK to adopt a community values-based document of this kind, and we’re confident others will follow their lead. A historic moment!