Thursday, 11 March 2010

Who will pay for the houses?

So, the Scottish Building Federation* has hit out at news that Highland Council faces a 45% cut in Scottish Government funding for affordable housing for 2011-12. SBF Chief Executive Michael Levack is reported to have described the cuts as “even worse than we had feared” and described them as “another hammer blow” for the Highland construction industry. Mr Levack also commented, “But this is not just disastrous for the building sector. It will do nothing to address a growing crisis in affordable housing provision in some of the most rural and remote parts of Scotland.

How would you solve this problem? How would you ensure a land supply to provide homes for the most vulnerable in our society? How did we get into this situation in the first place?

The Shelter England web pages make some very interesting comments on this issue. It is also worth reading the comment that this item drew.

(*Click here for more details from SBF web pages)

HIE area - top of the planning approval rates ?

The Scottish Government has released the latest statistics on planning performance. Click here

It would seem - from table 13 - that Highland, Orkney, Shetland, Eilean Siar and Argyll and Bute* all have pretty healthy approval stats (Moray trails a little in comparison) as compared with the Scottish average.

It would also appear from looking at the earlier stats tables in the report that Highland receives significant numbers of planning applications. Perhaps it would be interesting to compare areas in terms of applications per head of population?

(*No separate figures given for Argyll and the Islands)

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

'Planning Permission in Principle' (Sandown 'spin-off')

'Planning Permission in Principle', PPP, is one of the most basic concepts in planning.

The granting or refusing of planning permission is a major part of development management. Since the latest Planning Act ‘planning permission in principle’ has replaced ‘outline planning permission’. This type of application would be used when someone wants to find out whether the principle of development is acceptable before going to the time and expense of preparing detailed plans. PPP is granted subject to conditions that the development in question will not begin until certain matters (e.g. access, design, landscaping etc) have been approved by the Planning Authority or Scottish Ministers.

However, with respect to making this type of application, paragraph 3.7 of Planning Series Circular 4 2009 says:

"It is for the applicant to decide what level of detail they wish to provide. However, it is open to planning authorities to require additional information using regulation 24 (Further Information) where necessary to determine the application. While planning permission in principle is to establish the acceptability of a proposal in principle without having to develop the detailed proposals, applicants should discuss with planning authorities any additional information that is likely to be required. This may relate to matters such as design or access, traffic assessment or the requirements of other legislation, such as the EIA Regulations."

OPSI - Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006 (asp 17) here

Planning Aid Scotland leaflet - Development Management here

Monday, 8 March 2010


I gave evidence at an Appeal Inquiry - regarding the proposed developments at Sandown Lands Nairn - last Friday and have to say that it was one of the most difficult and challenging things that I have had to prepare for.

I do not intend to elaborate on this blog as to what I thought of the process or give any views as to how I think and/or hope that my evidence and submissions will be interpreted - it shall be a case of 'wait and see' what the official view of the Reporters will be.

For further insight try the local blogs such as

A Gurn from Nurn (link on this page LHS)

or the press

Nairnshire Telegraph
Inverness Courier
The Press and Journal

Latest on Highland-wide Proposed Plan

With respect to the Highland-wide Local Development Plan, the following was revealed at the Sandown Lands Appeal Inquiry:

  • (As previously mentioned on the blog) ...the findings from the Main Issues Report for the HwLDP are due to go before Highland Elected Councillors in March.
  • The draft Proposed Plan will be out in May and will be consulted on from June.
  • As it will be summer the consultation period will be extended and thereafter the intention is to refer the HwLDP for an examination as soon as possible.
  • The best estimate for adoption is late spring next year
One thing that concerns me immensely is the agreement made at the meeting of Highland Council's PED Committee on the 18/11/09 that:
  • ...all the current major development schemes in East Inverness, Tornagrain, Delnies and South Nairn (and any which are subsequently submitted) which were identified in the A96 Corridor Framework should be taken forward in the context of the ongoing Local Development Plan work and should not be determined in advance of the preparation of the Proposed Plan;
Does this mean that these major planning could be considered after the publication of the Proposed Plan but before the Proposed Plan itself has been examined?

Click here for PED meeting minutes

Click here for the relevant committee report (agenda item 7)

As always comments and discussion here would be particularly valuable