Thursday, 20 May 2010

Important announcement on HwLDP

Go to Council's planning blog now for latest press release.

Moving the Development Plan Forward

More on this later

The numbers game

APTSec read a recent item (18/05) on the Gurn re a local councillor's reply to questions regarding the role of Provost. The concept of support for someones position seemed to be being directly linked to overall support for the person. APTSec wondered if we could focus on the numbers mentioned for a moment rather than any of the people involved.

Well in terms of the votes cast the Gurn provides a link to some figures:

5142 votes cast, a 58% turnout (electorate 9009). The highest polling candidate received 1576 votes. This is a hefty % of the total vote and a good turnout.

Can we use this analysis to look at the approximate amount of 'support' that the possible proposals for the HwLDP have?

Highland Council reported to members that, "In total 335 responses were received to the Main Issues Report." If you look at the table of analysis at the very back of the linked report you can see that substantial numbers of respondents did not in fact answer the questions. So for each issue there may only be a hundred or so responses.

APTSec as already done a few extra calculations of her own re the HwLDP

If we try to establish how many people may have been reached on a face to face basis during the consultation on the MIR, using the meetings listed on the Highland Plan blog as a guide, we could estimate that ward forums and community council meetings totalled approximately 30 meetings across Highland and assuming that the average attendance for each meeting was perhaps 30 (including Elected Members, community councillors and members of the public), then you would arrive at a figure of 900 people attending these meetings in total. Of course there could be a cross over of attendees between the types of meetings. Lets round up to maybe 1000

Performing the same exercise with respect to the information days and assuming 20 days with an average attendance of 150 people then you arrive at a figure of 3000 people.

If you then took into account meetings with the Crofter’s commission; The Chamber of Commerce, HIE, The Forestry Commission, Inverness Civic Trust, Bypass Action Group, BIDS Meeting, Woodlands, Development Forums, etc you could perhaps add another 500 people.

3 members of the DPT gave up their time, which is to be commended, for 2 days over a weekend to attend the Belladrum Festival. The blog stated that they had met with 300 people over the 2 days. If we assume that all 3 had attended both days and each day had lasted 10 hours with no breaks for the officers, then each officer could have seen 5 members of the public per hour which means 12 minutes time per person

This could be less than 5000 in total people in 'formal' contact with the plan process.

Now approximately 80% of the Highland population of 219,000 -GROS 2008 - is over 16 (let's say that those over 16 would be most likely to comment for now) amd the Development Plans team's checklist identifies everyone who lives, works and visits Highland as being affected by the process:

So very crudely speaking maybe 175000 potential 'voters', perhaps 5000 in contact with the process of which 335 written responses noted.

This is of course not at all sophisticated and does not take into account that people may only focus on what is of interest in their locality. However, if you restricted it to say the INBS voting area of 72,000 voters and assigned all the contacts and responses to them how much would that mean?

I leave it to you to criticise, finesse or organise the numbers as you see fit.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

APTs Guest Speaker talks natural materials

Annual General Meeting


24 May 2010

7.30 pm

Croy Village Hall

Guest Speaker - Peter Wilson

Peter Wilson is an architect and director of the Wood Studio, a postgraduate research centre within Edinburgh Napier University’s Forest Products Research Institute. The Centre’s focus is on innovation in the use of timber in architecture and construction, a specialist area that reflects Peter’s career-long interest in the use of indigenous building materials, and in recent years has both edited and been the publisher of several reference publications, cd-roms and websites aimed at raising standards in the use of timber in architecture and construction, including 'Designing with Timber', 'Timber Cladding in Scotland', 'Making the Grade – a guide to appearance grading UK grown hardwood timber' and ‘Sustainable Timber Construction – sourcing and specifying local timber’. Aside from timber-oriented publications, he has edited and published 'Building with Scottish Stone’, ‘Housing and Sound Insulation’, ‘Home Improvements – A Sustainability Guide’ (the latter a website for Scottish Building Standards). His own book, ‘New Timber Architecture in Scotland in Scotland’ was published in December 2007 and, in addition to a follow-up volume to this, he is currently working on several new publications including an architect’s pocket guide to timber.

He is a regular contributor on architecture and related subjects to a number of journals and magazines including the Architects' Journal, Building Design, Prospect, the Scotsman, TTJ and Timber Building and is frequently requested by other sections of the media to comment on new developments and other construction-related issues. In this guise he produces ‘Wilson’s Weekly Wrap’ for the website.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Future Ward Forums discuss budgets

Important request!

I have been asked if I could include details of the forthcoming budget consultation ward meetings on the blog. All details can be checked and confirmed at this link here

Tickets for the forums are limited to 100 for each meeting (forums will be run as 'round table discussion' workshops after an initial presentation) and I suspect that demand should be high in lieu of all the interest being taken in the possible outcomes of the budget cuts (to libraries and swimming pools etc) and the publicity regarding the cuts. So order your tickets now! Meetings are open to all members of the public. If demand exceeds supply then I understand that more meetings will be arranged

Date and Time: Tuesday 1st June 2010, 7.00pm for 7.30pm

Venue: Culloden Academy Community Complex

Theme: Budget Consultation with Chief Executive, Alistair Dodds (For ticket enquiries contact

The meeting noted immediately above is for Ward 13 Aird and Loch Ness, Ward 18 Culloden and Ardersier, Ward 20 Inverness South

Date and Time: Tuesday 22nd June 2010, 7.00pm for 7.30pm

Venue: Inverness Town House

Theme: Budget Consultation with Chief Executive, Alistair Dodds (For ticket enquiries contact

The meeting noted immediately above is for Ward 14 Inverness West, Ward 15 Inverness Central, Ward 16 Inverness Ness-side, Ward 17 Inverness Millburn

Date and Time: Wednesday 30 June 2010 at 7.00 pm

Venue: The Chamber, The Court House, High Street, Nairn

Theme: Highland Council Budget Consultation

The meeting noted immediately above is for ward 19 Nairn. Not sure about this meeting as no mention of numbers or tickets on web page?

The Highland Council web sites states that:

Ward Forums have been set up across the Highlands to help you have your say in what's happening in your area. The forums will meet regularly in public led by the ward members in your area, assisted by the Ward Manager. Representatives of community councils and partner agencies, such as the police and fire, will also serve on the forums.

The meetings will last for up to 2 hours, with a 20-minute slot allocated at the end of the meeting for questions from the public.