The Highland Council recommendations for the A96 Corridor came as a complete surprise to me. I had attended a local plan meeting a few years earlier (when relatively new to the area). This meeting was held at the Old School Hall in Ardesier in June 2001 at 8pm; to go to a meeting like this was unusual at the time, and I kept the notes I took.
I would have been unaware then as to how this meeting fitted into the overall scheme of things, but I knew in isolation, at the time, (having looked at my notes from the meeting to refresh my memory), that we were being asked to participate in a 12 week consultation period on a draft 10 year plan. This was 21 June 2001 and several years later I now understand this meeting to have introduced locally THC’s draft Inverness Local Plan, which was to draw 800 individual responses on 2000 issues. Elected Members were advised, during 3 meetings in April 2002, of these responses, with the ILP deposit draft with modifications being published in April 2003. (The City Vision document came out in May 2003).
I also now understand that in 2001 as a member of the public I was participating in a level of consultation as indicated by regulation (with whatever local variation is permissible I’m sure).
A Report by the Director of Planning (signed off on 21 May 2005), and reported to the elected members of the Inverness Area and Nairn Area Committees and later the PDET Committee said that:
“Development of the A96 Corridor strategy has already been the subject of significant public consultation through the statutory Development Plan process and the consultant’s masterplanning exercise”.
I think that this misrepresents the level of consultation that the public and community councils actually had on the A96 Corridor master plan, and is very unfair. To my mind, there was little indication during the ILP process as to the scale of development that was later to be proposed as part of the Corridor master plan. I find it difficult to accept assertions by Highland that attempt to link the information provided to me as a member of the public during the statutory local plan process, in the same sentence with the ‘consultation’ on their A96 Corridor Proposal.
I would be very interested to hear of your experiences and understanding of the issues:
Did you attend any of the consultation meetings for the current Inverness or Nairn Local Plans?
Did you attend any of the meetings and focus groups arranged as part of the non-statutory master planning process?
Have you recently moved to the area?
To refer to the report mentioned in this post please visit the Highland Council web page