Saturday, 14 November 2009

Problems catching up with Highlands?

An item on 'The Scottish Federation of Housing Associations' web pages advises:

'Problems Forecast in Highlands Construction Industry'

Does this mean that there are no problems in the construction industry elsewhere?

To get a good flavour of the dire situation that the construction industry is in in general have a look at the Brickonomics web site here and here and here

Isn't is about time we took a long hard look at where we are and why we got here or will we still be treading the same worn out path in years to come? The thing then of course is that we are likely to be poorer, older and well, worn out ourselves!

More MIR views just in

APT has been encouraging as many people as possible to submit responses to the consultation on the MIR for the HwLDP. Here is a small snippet from one response just forwarded to me:

"It is surprising that despite the welcome reference to “small scale rural businesses”, there is no mention anywhere of the single most critical resource for such enterprise: telecommunications and IT. In view of the government’s recently published national broadband strategy, the provision of adequate network capacity across the Highlands should be a fundamental development objective. Such infrastructure is vital for the development of distance-working, homeworking, and the high-skills, low-impact, small-scale businesses that should be actively encouraged in a rural region such as the Highlands."

'Buildings across Highland'; Smithton near Inverness

Thursday, 12 November 2009

MIR: important news!

Please think carefully about this and encourage others to so the same:

Those who have been visiting the HwLDP blog and perhaps read the Development Plans Team's recent press release will have been informed that :

"The (Development Plans) team have attended and hosted over 50 information days, ward forums and other meetings with specific groups. They have informed over 1300 individuals and groups that are on the Council’s consultation database, distributed more than 800 Main Issues Reports to interested parties and advertised in a number of local publications."

"Following the close of the consultation the Development Plans Team will take into consideration all responses to the Main Issues Report before producing the proposed plan which will be published in the new year. There will be a chance to have your say on the proposed plan with a consultation planned to last at least 6 weeks." (APTSec has put 'Proposed Plan - the HwLDP in bold).

What you may not be aware of is this:

It is my understanding that Scottish Ministers will view the proposed plan as representing the planning authority's settled view on what the content of the plan should be, the assumption being that all controversial elements of the plan will have been tested through consultation responses to the MIR. The Ministers' faith in the MIR consultation process is such that representations to the proposed plan may not exceed 2000 words. Representations may be accompanied by supporting information, but it is anticipated that that information will be limited. There is no automatic opportunity for parties to expand on their representation later in the process.

That is why it is so important to think about the issues. For example, the MIR should have included genuine alternatives

So please, take Mr Macleod up on his offer when he says:

We would encourage people from right across the Highland area to give us feedback on the Main Issues Report. If you or your group don’t think you will be able to meet the deadline of the 9th November, please still try and get us any feedback you may have by the end of November so we can carefully consider it before we start work on the proposed plan stage of the Highland wide Local Development.”

Beyond this MIR Consultation our opportunity to shape the HwLDP may be less effective as the development plan stages progress!

Views; Kingussie

Gynack Burn; Kingussie

(With thanks to Hubby)

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Fort William in the Supermarket Spotlight

Whether to site supermarkets in or out of town looms large with some interesting 'developments' announced at Fort William recently. Not quite hot on the heels of these items in the Lochaber News on the 8th October and 15th October:


"PROPOSALS for a major retail scheme, including a massive supermarket, on the outskirts of Fort William have taken a dramatic step forward."

"Edinburgh-based Oatridge Ltd, whose supermarket clients include Tesco, has concluded negotiations with landowners and other interested parties.

The company says the scheme can be delivered within two years and intends to make an announcement regarding a planning application once discussions on Highland Council's new planning blueprint for Lochaber are concluded late next month."


"And a spokesman confirmed the scheme – which could be delivered within two years – will include a major supermarket operator, a number of national retailers and various public service uses."

""I know some people would see it as a threat to a waterfront but I would say that the people of Fort William and Lochaber are fed up waiting for another supermarket.

Comes this 11th October Press Release from The Highland Council web site:

Public consultation for the Fort William Waterfront Development gets underway in two weeks time, with the first formal consultation meeting being held on Thursday 26 November 2009 in the Council Chambers, Lochaber House, Fort William.

The Lochaber News had previously reported (041208)

"TULLOCH boss David Sutherland said he was confident a major supermarket retailer would be signed up to underpin the Fort William waterfront development."

"Questioners said potential out-of-town developments, such as an Aldi supermarket or Morbaine Ltd's non-food retail park, were being "chased away" in favour of a waterfront site yet to be created."

Apparently not?

Cheap Housing

Click here

Buildings across Highland: Ardersier

War Memorial Hall

More information can be found here ; here

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Must read the 'Wrap'

APTSec invites you to

Wilsons Weekly Wrap

This is a MUST read!

This entertaining Blog features many words from APTSec posts past:

Trump; Golf; Castle Stuart; John O'Groats; The Prince's foundation (Nairn); Andres Duany; SSCI; Tornagrain

The Future of Air Transport: ICE to see you?

'Eco Angst 2040'; 'Big Stick 2040'; 'Vortex of Despair 2040' and 'Laissez-Faire'

These are
four provocative scenarios showing how UK air transport and airport infrastructure could look in 2040. They are set out in a new report produced by the Institution of Civil Engineers - ICE.

"ICE believe now is the ideal time to instigate a serious debate about the future development of UK airport infrastructure. The current economic crisis and the forthcoming General Election have focused thinking on the future structure of the UK economy and the transport system that is required to underpin it."

[The four scenarios are the result of two workshops facilitated by ARUP, with participants from major civil engineering companies and key aviation stakeholders.

ICE will be publishing its strategic policy document on airport infrastructure in early 2010.

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) was founded in 1818 to ensure professionalism in civil engineering. It represents 80,000 qualified and student civil engineers in the UK and across the globe. The ICE has long worked with the government of the day to help it to achieve its objectives, and has worked with industry to ensure that construction and civil engineering remain major contributors to the UK economy and UK exports.]

Low Carbon Travel

Just when you thought you could take a break, the Local Transport Strategy for the Highlands is still out to consultation.

To provide a little background information why not have a look at the recently published Department of Transport booklet:

Delivering Sustainable Low Carbon Travel: An Essential Guide for Local Authorities.


"Sustainable travel is about understanding your local area and providing for its transport needs through a range of measures which promote attractive sustainable transport alternatives such as walking, cycling and public transport. And the key is in the range of measures – by introducing a carefully selected package of complementary measures in a specific targeted location, an authority can achieve a greater and longer-term impact than through individual initiatives alone. This package is then held together by a clear and strong brand with supportive marketing."

Interesting phraseology there?

Under-occupancy and over-occupancy

A couple of contrasting items on the planning blog:

Would you let a spare room in your home for a little tax free cash? Read more here

Did you know that our laws on overcrowding are outdated and one million children live in overcrowded accommodation? Read more here

Sign the petition here

World Town Planning Day

Yes there is such a thing!

More information here

MIR in the Mire

Oh my aching brain!

APTSec is sorry to report that she actually missed the Monday 9th deadline for submissions on the MIR and only just managed to get an incomplete personal response in by approximately 9.30 this morning.

The focus for all APT committee members has been to encourage the public to take part in the planning process and make their views known as well as compiling their own list of comments.

I would be delighted to learn just how you've all got on with your submissions; did you find it easy to access information for example? Did you find it easy to find the time to make a considered response?

I could go on but I won't.

Buidlings across Highland: Kingussie