An important part of the Innocastle project is the involvement of stakeholders. Based on the quadruple helix model, each partner will bring together a multi-sectoral group of stakeholders and involve this group in the project through meetings, participation in thematic seminars and study visits. Together with the local stakeholders, each partner will create an action plan to improve their addressed policy instrument.
University College Ghent was the first partner to organise a stakeholder meeting in February 2019. It was attended by heritage and redevelopment experts, a landscape architect, a rural landowner association, a rural volunteering organisation and government officials from spatial planning, nature, regional development, culture and heritage. The meeting introduced the project and clarified the process of developing a regional action plan to influence the Decree on Immovable Heritage in Flanders.
Following the introduction to the project, both the Immovable Heritage Agency and the Province of West-Flanders, department of regional development were invited to give a presentation to trigger a debate on the topic. University College Ghent furthermore elaborated on the first research findings, explained the case-based research methodology of Innocastle and initiated a discussion on the selection of cases through specific propositions.
A multiplicity of topics was discussed and it was possible to distil several potential focuses for the continuation of the project. After a first analysis of these potential themes of interest, University College Ghent will develop and propose the next steps in the coming months.
All the participants were enthusiastic about the Innocastle project and several stakeholders stressed the importance to help guarantee a sustainable future for our historical castles, manors and estates. The meeting pointed anew to the importance of this heritage as well as to their intrinsic complexity. The stakeholders appreciated that, through Innocastle, all the different competencies who play a role in this topic are brought together to exchange and discuss common solutions.