Saturday, 23 April 2011

Planning Info Round-up; Highlands and Islands Region

A quick round up of other parties putting forward candidates in the Highlands and Islands Region; it seems that most of the web based information provided by all the parties listed below is light on specific detail regarding planning issues. Please feel free to point me in the direction of more info.

  • All Scotland Pensioners Party ; Scottish Senior Citizens Party click here

  • Ban Bankers Bonuses, details here The Objectives of the Party are to: Protect our communities from the irresponsible behaviour of Banks, the Financial Sector, Political Parties and other powerful organisations.

  • BNP Scottish Manifesto here
Having difficult electronic problems cutting and pasting sections out, information best accessed directly from the manifesto at the link above; planning related statements are in a separate section within the manifesto but also some statements in others sections also. It is not too long so reasonably easy to read through quickly.

  • Christian Party "Proclaiming Christ's Lordship"
Scottish Christian Party details here and here; campaign leaflet with main policies and a few statement listed here. Among the statements in a, 'What People are saying' section on the front of the SCP campaign leaflet are:

Put the Inverness Trunk Link Road up the agenda along with the canal and river Ness

“Develop the transport infra-structure of the north and western Highlands and Islands.”

“Support a new container transhipment hub port at Scapa Flow, increase trading
north to south, and double Scotland’s trade.

(The link from the leaflet to the manifesto seems to be broken)

  • Scottish Socialist Party link here

  • Socialist Labour Party link here

  • Solidarity - Scotland's Socialist Movement web pages here

  • The Liberal Party web pages here

  • UKIP's reference to planning matters; UKIP manifesto web page here:
Subject all wind-farms to democratic planning procedures. Owners of existing wind-farms rejected by planning committees will pull them down at their own expense.

Make carriageway doubling on the A9 from Perth to Inverness a priority.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Greens on Planning Issues

Scottish Green Party Manifesto hereLink
Main highlights on planning (this manifesto does not have a separate section on 'Planning' and planning related items are embedded within various sections of the document so I have tried to identify the main points).

  • We’ll review the operation of the 2006 Planning Act with a view to restoring planning’s original purpose of achieving development which is in the public good, instead of placing economic growth above other priorities. The rights of developers and communities must also be revisited, and we’ll consult on a workable balance of appeal rights. We’ll ensure that urban communities can assert a right to buy land and community facilities.

  • We’ll empower community councils to take on a legal role in decision making through planning and local urban design policy, including working towards greater localisation through democratic Common Good Trusts.

  • Local community empowerment is an agenda which Holyrood must embrace instead of seeing it as a threat. Our support for Common Good Trusts and the democratic control of local assets offers new ways to devolve control to the most local level.

  • We’ll introduce health impact assessments into the planning system, and ensure that health is taken into account in all other Government policies.

  • A tax on land values would reduce the speculative holding of land. The owners of disused land and properties would face a levy giving incentives to the productive economic use of land, where local communities require it and where it’s consistent with planning rules.

  • The land reform agenda has stalled. We will give fresh impetus to this area of policy through the new Common Good Act and a Land Rights Law Centre to help communities assert their rights. We’ll consult on proposals to bring the administration and revenues of the Crown Estate under local democratic control.

  • A Land Value Tax would help to reduce the cost of housing and business premises, and would also recoup a share of land value increases which arise from public investment. Land Value Tax would be fairer, more environmentally friendly, and would benefit the economy. Many small businesses in particular would benefit.

  • We oppose the proposed new coal-fired power station at Hunterston, and would use the planning system to prevent further nuclear and coal expansion.

  • With better use of the planning system the distance people need to travel to work and to access services can be reduced. A ‘Living Streets’ approach will build neighbourhoods that are safer, healthier and happier.

  • We’ll oppose the return of any form of aviation subsidy, and use the planning system to prevent further capacity expansion in Scottish airports.

  • Many communities oppose the expansion of large-scale incineration, and the planning system must protect their interests. Energy generated from burning waste is not renewable, and such developments would not be given public subsidy, nor do we back large-scale biomass plants.

  • Many communities oppose the expansion of large-scale incineration, and the planning system must protect their interests. Energy generated from burning waste is not renewable, and such developments would not be given public subsidy, nor do we back large-scale biomass plants.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Scottish Conservatives and Planning

What the Scottish Conservative Manifesto 2011 says in relation to 'Planning'

Manifesto here

  • ...we will create a new dedicated Cabinet level Minister for Enterprise and Jobs, taking responsibility for Enterprise, Planning, Transport and Infrastructure. This post will replace the two existing junior ministerial posts.

  • Despite the new Planning legislation, it is clear that the current regime is not helping drive economic growth. We will therefore establish a business-led review of the planning system to report by March 2012 on how we can improve the design and operation of the planning regime to raise economic growth whilst recognising local needs and wishes.

  • To address the difficulties that developers and self-builders have in getting new properties connected to the mains water supply, we will impose upon Scottish Water a requirement to complete the work within three months of planning permission in detail being granted for development.

  • To safeguard Scotland’s landscape, we will introduce national strategic planning guidance for onshore wind to prevent inappropriately sited or sized windfarms. This will provide certainty to both communities and developers.

  • ...we will amend National Planning Framework 2 in order to designate the replacement of existing nuclear power generating capacity as National Developments.

SNP Manifesto 2011; what will SNP do for planning?

Manifesto here

With respect to what I would regard as impinging on the planning issues:

  • LinkWe are working to make Scotland a more attractive location for investment. We want to make it easier for international companies to set up here in Scotland and will review and reform investor support to ensure that the system of planning, grants, skills and other support is co-ordinated and simplified for inward investors. We will maintain investment in grants designed to attract inward investment and will establish four new Enterprise Zones. We will explore the creation of one or more Low Carbon Enterprise Zones as a way of attracting new green energy and low carbon companies to set up in Scotland.

  • We will take forward a series of new improvements to the planning system. This has been a key priority of the SNP since 2007 and we know that a more efficient and effective planning system will be good for investment and growth. The improvements, set out in detail in the Scottish Government’s Economic Recovery Plan, will speed up planning decisions, avoid unnecessary delays in new development and act as a boost for the construction industry. We will continue to press all public authorities to improve planning performances.

  • In particular we will take forward an approach which involves communities at an earlier stage and engages them more effectively in the design of developments. The current pilot projects suggest that this brings benefits for the developments and the communities involved. We also want to see a wider understanding of the planning system, and a recognition of the important role planners have in the creation of more sustainable communities and in the delivery of higher levels of sustainable economic growth.
  • Other priorities include helping unlock developments currently stalled due to infrastructure needs, improving the compulsory purchase process, and ensuring cost and efficiency benefits through reform of planning consents.

  • We are providing updated online planning advice for renewable energy technologies. This will set out the way SEPA and SNH will interact more proportionately as consultees in developmentplanning and management. We will continue to work over the next five years to ensure Scotland’s planning system encourages sustainable development.

  • We have just recently made it easier for owners of public buildings and businesses to generate energy using technologies such as solar panels without requiring planning permission. The initiative will apply for solar thermal panels, solar photo voltaic panels, pipework for ground source heat pumps and water source heat pumps and biomass boilers.

  • Our plans include taking forward Tax Increment Finance (TIF). The go-ahead has already been given for the use of this innovative financing mechanism, and it is now successfullyleveraging new private sector investment to support the regeneration of Leith Waterfront and new economic activity in that area. We are working with other cities and other parts ofurban Scotland to identify projects suitable for TIF, for example the Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow, which will deliver tangible improvements to community renewal across the country.

  • We will work with the cities to develop a more flexible regulatory framework which empowers them to develop alternative financing models and will also enter discussion with our city councils and others on the granting of a general power of competence to enable our cities to do more to deliver higher levels of sustainable economic growth. And, a part of this we are sympathetic to calls for a move away from short to longerterm funding streams to enable more effective long term planning and support infrastructure investment in particular.

Sadly this observer has not been impressed with what this Government has done so far with respect to helping communities engage with the planning system.

I and many others in our local communities I'm sure would be more than happy to engage with whatever Government comes to power after the next election to ensure that the views of communites are held in higher esteem that they appear to be at the moment.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Delnies planning application determination

News just in:

Delnies may go before the INBS PAC July 2011

Please contact me via apt email for further info should you require it.

Information just received from the Highland Council

...two important documents that have now been published by the Council. They are both available online at, and for reference in Highland Council Service Points, Libraries and Planning Offices during normal opening hours (from Tuesday 19th April).


· A timetable for producing land use plans for the Highlands (including the Highland-wide Local Development Plan and the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan);

· How you can become involved in planning for the future of your area.

ONSHORE WIND ENERGY – DRAFT SUPPLEMENTARY GUIDANCE is available for public consultation and:

· supplements the Highland wide Local Development Plan;

· will replace parts of the Highland Renewable Energy Strategy and Planning Guidelines (2006).

If you would like to request a printed copy or copy on CD, please contact the Development Plans Team on 01463 702259 or If you have any questions about the content of the draft supplementary guidance, please contact David Cowie on 01463 702827 or

If you would like to make any comments on the draft supplementary guidance please do so in writing by 5pm on Friday 24 June 2011 using any of the following methods:

· By email to:

· By post to: Director of Planning and Development, Planning and Development Service, The Highland Council, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness IV3 5NX

· By fax to: (01463) 702298