Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Council must wait a little longer for its money back

From Today's PEDC meeting agenda


Report by Director of Planning and Development

SummaryThis report provides Members with information about the current financial position of Inverness Airport Business Park Limited. Members are invited to note the report.

1.2 Inverness Airport Business Park Ltd issued Loan Stock of £1.175m to the Council to reflect the cost incurred by the Council in building the new access road to the airport from the A96. The repayment of this Loan Stock will allow the Council to recover its costs in constructing the road, albeit over a period of time. The Council is currently represented on Inverness Airport Business Park Ltd. Board of Directors by Councillor David Henderson, with the Director of Planning and Development attending in an advisory capacity. This provides the Council with the ability to closely monitor the financial situation of the IABP Ltd.

2. Current Situation

2.1 Inverness Airport Business Park have provided the Council with a copy of their Directors Report and Financial Statements for the year ending 31 March 2010 and these are attached as an Appendix to this report.

2.2 The Balance Sheet to March 2010 indicates the net worth of the company as £509,785 and the Profit and Loss Accounts report a loss of £116,439 over the same period. These figures reflect that the company has still to commence its trading activities and is at an early stage in developing the business park. It should be noted that the loss in 2009/10 is lower than that incurred in the previous financial year where the loss amounted to £225,691.

2.3 Under the Loan Stock Agreement, Inverness Airport Business Park Ltd. Is required to repay 50% of the loan stock to the Council in May 2010 and the remaining 50% in May 2015. However, the Loan Stock Agreement gives the company an option to defer payments if they believe the repayment would have a prejudicial impact on their business proposals for the Business Park. In this regard the company opted to defer the first repayment of £587.5k due to be received by the Council in May 2010. The Council was notified of the deferment in accordance with the terms of the Loan Stock Agreement. The Finance Service undertook a review of the company’s draft Annual Accounts for 2008/09 and 2009/10 which confirmed that if repayment had been made in May 2010 it would have had a prejudicial effect on the business proposals. Under the deferment arrangements, the 2010 repayment now becomes payable to the Council in May 2015 unless independent reviews of the Company’s accounts indicate the deferred amount can be paid earlier. The company has no option but to repay the loan stock if these independent reviews provide an opinion that the repayment can be made without prejudicing the development.

2.4 The Council’s Finance Service continues to review the Company’s Annual Accounts to ascertain if an independent review should be carried out. This situation will continue until the total Loan Stock amount of £1.175m has been fully repaid to the Council

2.5 With the Council proposing to grant planning permission subject to a section 75 agreement being enacted, the status of their development proposals will be changed. This agreement is being considered by the Council’s legal advisers, and the legal advisers appointed by the company.

For full report click here

The Minutes of Meeting of the Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey Planning Applications Committee, at which the committee granted planning permission subject to planning agreements (and which commenced at 10 am on site at Inverness Airport, Dalcross and thereafter continued in the Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness) on Tuesday 19 January 2010 at 11.15 am indicated the following:

The Principal Planner, Mr K McCorquodale, began by drawing members attention to paragraph 7.49 of the report which stated that the Council did not have a financial interest in the development. He explained that the Council had lent the applicant £1.25 million to assist with building the Airport Link Road, a project jointly funded by the applicant, HIE, the Council and substantial EU funds. This loan, and the arrangements for its repayment, would, however be unaffected by the Committee’s decision on the planning application for the business park, be it to grant or to refuse permission. The Council accordingly had no financial interest in the application.




The Modernisation of the Planning System introduced a range of new procedures in relation to development planning, development management and appeals. The efficient operation of these procedures is important to ensure that the planning system is supporting planning’s contributions to sustainable economic growth.

The purpose of the consultation is primarily to seek views on a number of refinements and amendments to the procedures on development management and appeals introduced in 2009. The Scottish Government invites written responses to the consultation paper by Friday 28 January 2011.

Full Response on Council web site click here

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Rules of the Game; sound familiar?

Readers may well 'enjoy' some of the comments I came across recently on the 'Planning Blog'. The English Planning System is trying to get to grips with 'Localism' and a blog post invited views on how planning rules could be rewritten - click here

Monday, 17 January 2011

Whiteness Marina; any news anyone?

APTSec is not finding much up to date info in terms of likely development interest in this major site (short of ringing up the agents and asking what progress is being made) What happens at this site may well have long term implications for development in other areas of the Inner Moary Firth.

I did however come across this:

Scotish Parliament Written Answers Thursday 17 June 2010

Robin Harper (Lothians) (Green): To ask the Scottish Executive whether an appropriate assessment has been carried out regarding the marina developments in Inverness, Whiteness and Avoch, each of which are within the EU Habitats Directive designated bottlenose dolphin special area of conservation.


Stewart Stevenson: The marina developments at Inverness, Whiteness and Avoch were approved under separate applications, under various consenting procedures and on differing timescales.

The development at Inverness Harbour was enabled by a Harbour Revision Order in 2005. An appropriate assessment was not completed as Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) advice indicated that the proposed development, subject to mitigation measures identified by SNH, was not likely to have a significant effect on the special area of conservation (SAC). The Scottish Government understands that the mitigation works have been carried out.

A Harbour Revision Order was made in November 2008 to enable Whiteness Marina Company to carry out physical works to the harbour and operate as a Statutory Harbour Authority. An appropriate assessment of the Whiteness development was carried out in January 2010 as part of the planning application approval process which specifies the number of berths permitted.

Avoch Harbour works were authorised by consent under Section 34 of the Coast Protection Act in August 2009. Advice from SNH relating to the increased number of berths proposed was that these would not have an adverse effect on the integrity of the SAC. This advice was used as our Appropriate Assessment prior to issuing the consent.

I have also come across this from September 2010

More Success For WDCS. No Marina Development At Whiteness - click here

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Bypass or Distributor Road

APTSec's efforts to compose a response to the latest Highland Council consultation on the Inverness City West Link (to be submitted by 28 January 2011) are being hampered by the fact that I do not know the answer to one simple question; does this road qualify as a bypass? As far as I can tell it is phase of The Southern Distributor Road, which has been represented as a Bypass and Trunk Link Road.

Our MSP David Stewart appears to regard the consideration of this road as a bypass as important to the economy:

Extract from

Scottish Parliament

Thursday 23 December 2010

Inverness Bypass

10. David Stewart (Highlands and Islands) (Lab): To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has recently had with Highland Council regarding the proposed Inverness bypass. (S3O-12525)

The Minister for Transport and Infrastructure (Keith Brown): My predecessor, Stewart Stevenson, met representatives of Highland Council on 10 November to discuss developments regarding the proposed Inverness bypass as part

Col 31976

of the strategic transport projects review joint action plan.

Highland Council is progressing a study into connectivity in south-west Inverness that includes options to cross the river Ness and the Caledonian canal. Transport Scotland continues to work with Highland Council as part of the stakeholder group for that study, meeting most recently on 10 December.

David Stewart: The minister will be well aware that the city of Inverness desperately needs a bypass because of the staggering population growth in the area over the past decade. Does he share my view that a bypass would slash traffic congestion and provide well-needed stimulus to business and tourism? Can he offer any message of hope today as an early Christmas present for the Highlands?

Keith Brown: I am aware that the member is very well versed in these matters, including the circumstances of the Scottish Government's commitment on the eastern link and the council's commitment on the western link. Those options, which include crossings of the river Ness and the Caledonian canal, are out to public consultation at the moment. The consultation does not close until 28 January. I assure him that we will take a very close look at the responses as soon as we can, once the consultation process is closed.

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Various comments in several articles in the Inverness Courier since September 2008 have also referred to the need for this section of the road to be considered as a bypass.

The Reporters conclusions** at the Inverness Local Plan Public Local Inquiry made the points:

6.58 Given the need for significant further design work, and the procedural and technical complexities likely to be encountered in this type of project, there is no guarantee that Phase V would be completed by 2011, irrespective of the route that is selected. However, a good quality link road between the A9 and the A82, around the southern periphery of Inverness, to cater for cross-city and through traffic without adding to pressures in the city centre and on radial routes, is likely to have significant traffic advantages. Despite funding uncertainties, it is also important to the overall development strategy. The HSP recognises that significant land releases at Inverness, a significant proportion of which are allocated in the current adopted plan, depend on a new river and canal crossing. Identifying and safeguarding a preferred route for the road in the plan would allow progress to be made in all these respects. The structure plan does not encourage longer-term expansion to the south-west along the A82, but refers to the A96 corridor as providing an opportunity of linking new housing to business opportunities associated with the airport and rail link to Inverness and Nairn.

6.59 The consultation exercise at the time of the CDLP resulted in a preference for Route B, by a significant margin. As the consultation documentation issued by the Council described Phase V as “a by-pass for Inverness”, it would not be surprising if respondents had understood this would be the road’s primary purpose. Paragraph 2.5 of the local plan contains a similar reference. However, while the completed road would carry some through traffic, as its name suggests, it would serve primarily as a distributor road, and extend through the built-up area on the periphery of the city.

And the Strategic Transport Projects Review made the following comments;

E6 Title of Intervention

Inverness Southern Bypass from the A9 to A82

Description of Intervention

This intervention supports the objective to reduce the conflict between longer distance and local traffic in Inverness, by allowing long distance traffic to bypass the city. It consists of an Inverness bypass from the A9 to the A82, building on the suggested link road from the A96 at Smithton to the A9 at Inshes proposed as part of the upgrade of the A96 between Inverness and Nairn (Intervention D16). The extension to the A96-A9 link road would comprise:

Upgrade to dual carriageway of the existing B8082 between Inshes and Dores Roundabout; and

New crossing of the Caledonian Canal and the River Ness (by bridge over the River Ness and either a high level opening bridge over the canal or a tunnel / aqueduct crossing of the Caledonian Canal) between Dores Roundabout and the A82 at Torvean.

Approximate Cost of Intervention £100m to £250m

Rationale for not recommending

This intervention generally performs well against the set of defined objectives but is a high cost, road based intervention which largely provides local benefits for local traffic.

The environmental impacts this intervention has on designated sites, valued habitats, protected species and water quality have been identified at the strategic level as part of the Strategic Environmental Assessment and Appropriate Assessment.

The bypass would affect the landscape of the urban fringe of Inverness and may intersect with the Torvean landform which is noted for its landscape value. There are also potential adverse effects on noise and biodiversity.

The most technically challenging aspect of this proposal is the crossing of the River Ness and Caledonian Canal which is likely to have a potential major adverse impact on cultural heritage, soils and geology. High capital costs and relatively low benefits represent poor value for money.

Highland Council has lobbied for the road as part of its representations to the National Planning Framework and a report was presented to committee on 19 March 2008 which noted:

This report provides Committee with a recommended response to the Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework for Scotland 2 – Discussion Draft (NPF2). Any comments from the Council need to be submitted by 15th April 2008. Many aspects of the Framework may be welcomed, although there are some aspects that require clarification or amendment or which would benefit from further discussion. In particular NPF2 should do more to action identified development projects in the Highlands that are fundamental to achieving its strategy. It is therefore recommended that the Council respond to the consultation as specified in this report.

And stated:

We will work with the Scottish Government and HITRANS to secure funding for the Inverness Trunk Link Road, crossing the River Ness and Caledonian Canal with a target for completion of the whole project by 2015 and the rail network to and within the Highlands.

The Committee approved the content of this report (including appendices 2 and 3) and agreed that it be forwarded to the Scottish Government (along with any other points raised at Committee) as the response of the Council to the Discussion Draft of the National Planning Framework. Reference to the 'Trunk Link Road' was included as part of the submission to include the A96 Corridor as a Candidate National Development at this time.

It would be useful to have to hand the most up to date figures for traffic flows since those available to the Reporter were stated by her to have "...assumed modest economic / population growth and that Phase V is completed during the period 2006-11"

It must surely be important to state clearly how this road is to be regarded and where the evidence is to support the classification.

[Apologies for the variation in type which I think is due to the amount of 'cutting and pasting']