Community and local stakeholder consultation for the Management Plan of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney

Published: 05 October 2020
Last edited: 05 October 2020

The Heart of Neolithic Orkney plays an important role in local identity and it plays a key role in the sustainability of local tourism economy and business.

As part of the process of developing  a new management plan, local communities, residents and businesses were asked to express their views about the future management of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney. In early 2020, a consultation campaign was carried out through quantitate and qualitative methods that included an survey (both online and in hard copies) and a series of three consultation sessions that took place at the St Magnus Centre, Kirkwall; the Maeshowe Visitor Centre, Stenness and the Milestone Community Centre, Dounby. Additional consultations and meeting took place with local community organisations.

The consultation focused on understanding the value of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney as well as the role played by the World Heritage designation have for local communities and businesses. The consultation also explored how to improve communication with local stakeholders and addressed the issue of their key priorities for the future of the site.

Classifications

Category
Co-management building
Collection of baseline and monitoring data and knowledge
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Scale of implementation
Local
Phase of solution
Entirety

Enabling factors

The community engagement exercise was implemented by an independent consultant commissioned by the Steering Group. The consultation involved 95 individuals and organisations including primary and secondary school pupils, businesses, residents and individuals representing various community groups and organisations (e.g. farmers and landowners, history and heritage passionate).

Lessons learned

The community engagement revealed important information and community perceptions that are key for the preparation of the new management plan for the Heart of Neolithic Orkney:

  • World Heritage status is important for bringing tourism to Orkney, but can also be a limitation as its focused interpretation fails to tackle the wider history of Orkney
  • A wider and joined-up approach to tourism involving also non-World Heritage sites would help to avoid bottleneck situation during peak months
  • Orkney’s tourism appeal does not only come from the World Heritage status of some of its heritage, but for the wider range of cultural and natural heritage sites and also for its local produce (beef, sheep industry, whisky, local branded produce), which is a key aspect for local businesses and their sustainability
  • Residents expressed a strong connection to the history of Orkney and its people and a desire to see this fully represented and connected in order to share with the world
  • There is the need to improve community facilities that have deteriorated through time, and tourism could be used as catalyzer to fund the renovation and upgrade of such facilities