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22 September 05
Ormlie to Speak at National Home Zone Conference

Ormlie Community Association has been invited to speak at the annual Home Zones Scotland Network Conference on Monday 26 September 2005 in the Scottish Executive building, Edinburgh. This will be the second time that OCA has given presentations at the prestigious conference, as Colin Punler, ex-Chairperson was given rapturous applause at the first conference in 1999.

Lorna Simpson, OCA Company Manager and Diane Holmes, Ormlie resident and volunteer will speak at this year’s conference. Mrs Simpson will give delegates a full briefing on the early developments of the regeneration project beginning in November 1997 through to the present day. The title of her presentation is ‘Wavy Walls and Magic Circles in Ormlie’; a reference to the Caithness flagstone features which have been constructed by master drystone dyker, George Gunn. Diane Holmes will speak about life in Ormlie as a resident and the effect the improvements have made on the community as a whole. Charlotte Lowe, OCA Director will also attend the conference, which will be a follow-on from the international Home Zone conference held in Delft, Netherlands at the end of August.

Tavish Scott, Minister for Transport has been invited as keynote speaker at the Scottish event whilst David Spaven, Chair of TRANSform Scotland will undertake the welcome and introduction. A range of speakers have been invited including Ian Wall, Chief Executive of the EDI Group Ltd who will be presenting his view that determining the social roots and objectives of ‘shared space’ is essential before addressing design. For the last four years RIBA has identified Ian Wall as one of the top 25 clients for architecture in Britain.

Other speakers include Sue Gutteridge, founder member of the Home Zone Scotland Network, John Barrell, Technical Director of Jacobs Babtie; Neil Frier Team Leader (Transport Projects) Gateshead Council; Khalid Muneer, Kirklees Metropolitan Council and Ray Alkinshaw, Southside Housing Association Ltd, Pollokshields. Clare Hunter, freelance consultant will speak about her work with residents in Craighall, Sitrling, redesigning back court and street corner areas as part of the Craighall Home Zone development.

The aims of the conference are to give up-to-date information about home zones throughout the UK, preview the Good Practice Guide resulting from the newly completed Home Zones Challenge (England and Wales), allow delegates an overview of the Scottish Home Zone scene based on a national survey conducted during Summer 2005 and to debate and discuss case studies of the real experience of implementing Home Zones. Ormlie fits into the case study category as it is the only pilot scheme (retro-fit) that has made any progress in implementing a Home Zone in a residential area.

Brian Leonard, OCA Chairperson said ‘it is a great honour for Ormlie Community Association to be invited to speak at the Home Zone conference. We are enormously proud that one of our residents, Diane Holmes will be making a presentation based on her life in Ormlie before the regeneration project began and her subsequent involvement in the HZ project. Ten years ago there were extreme difficulties in getting people to take up tenancies in Ormlie, but due to the regeneration initiative, there is now a considerable waiting list for houses on the estate.

Lorna Simpson, OCA Manager added ‘Ormlie is highly regarded as an excellent example of a bottom up approach to community regeneration. Some people were sceptical about the improvements which have taken place, believing them to be impossible to achieve. The Home Zone and play area projects have allayed that myth and have shown that if residents are motivated and determined, anything is possible. I would encourage local people who have not visited Ormlie for many years, to come up and see the improvements which have taken place. I am sure that they will be pleasantly surprised!’

For further information on the Ormlie Regeneration Project or the Home Zone (Scotland) Network, please call Lorna Simpson, Ormlie Community Association, 108 Marr Terrace, Thurso, KW14 7SW – 01847 891789 ormlieca@tiscali.co.uk