Friday, 2 September 2011

'Fast Train Coming' ...the slow way

No, not a comment on the slow pace of progress re the much needed improvements to rail infrastructure in our area, but a quick post to draw attention to a really interesting blog:

I became aware of the blog through reading the item 'Fast Train Coming' which summarises how:

Planner Tim Stansfeld walked the 170-mile route of the proposed London-Birmingham high speed rail link, talking to those affected and assessing their concerns.

Fascinating stuff.

My interpretation in a nutshell, the thought of the line's construction brings hope of prosperity to some and despair to others; so, where can I find the robust evidence on which to base an informed view?

New Inshes District Park, Inverness

Work has begun this week on the first new public park to be built in Inverness for a generation.

Inshes District Park will cover a significant area of South Inverness. 29 hectares (72 acres) in total will be developed in three phases - more here

This news made the BBC news night time bulletin and there is a slightly different take on the BBC web site

Earlier this year, a campaign began to protect one of Inverness's largest existing parks - WhinPark - from the construction of a planned new road.

The West Link aims to take traffic from the city's Southern Distributor Road to the A82, avoiding the city centre.

Several possible routes are being considered and Highland Council has been looking at responses to public consultation on the options.

Some residents started a campaign to prevent the new road crossing Whin Park.

more here

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Campus application consideration

I have to admit that I am saddened by some of the more 'negative' press coverage re the Councillors decision to defer consideration on the latest Campus 'Matters Specified' application. The press seems to have forgotten that the Council fully supports this Campus project and it already has 'outline' permission.

What is so awful about elected members wanting to ensure that the decisions they take now will result in the best possible decisions on road layout being taken at some point in the future?

I suggest that readers take a look at in order to assess for themselves just how much traffic might be generated in this area when the the SAC and Inverness College relocate and the planned new Hotel, sports and community facilities are being fully utilised. All this on a site - bounded by the main railway line and the A9 - which is in close proximity to other major employers in the area (Lifescan, Raigmore, Police, Tesco/ASDA/Other retail units) and housing.

The Council has put out the following press release

A special meeting of The Highland Council’s Inverness Nairn Badenoch and Strathspey Planning Applications Committee is to be held towards the end of October to determine the outstanding matters from the Inverness Campus proposal at Beechwood, Inverness. This follows a decision by the Committee to defer a decision at its meeting on Tuesday 30 August.

Stuart Black, the Council’s Director of Planning and Development, said: “The deferral of this matter by committee provides some time to discuss the outstanding concerns there are, particularly in relation to access. We recognise HIE’s aspiration to commence infrastructure works and deliver the first phase of the Campus project, but it’s also important that community views are taken fully into account. We know that HIE is planning further consultation and look forward to having positive discussions with the community over the next month.”


Wednesday, 31 August 2011

HwLDP; Reporters' Progress Update for August 2011

Highland-wide Plan - Reporter's update:

"In August a fourth reporter Iain Lumsden was welcomed to the team. His wide experience will be valuable to the team members.

Work has continued in assessing the representations and how they will be handled. A large number of questions requiring additional information have been put to the council. These have all been answered quickly and comprehensively, for which the team is grateful. The first unaccompanied site inspections have been carried out, in the Nairn area. Many of the issues will not require additional information or site inspections but will be carried out on the basis of the information originally supplied of further written submissions.

It has also been decided that two hearings will be carried, looking at the overall strategy and housing requirements, and the way this has been translated into the development structure on the ground in the A96 corridor and Nairn area. These will be held in Inverness in late September, and parties invited have now been informed.

Actual writing up the reports will now actively be taking place. The team meets monthly and has agreed on administrative points to ensure matters such as consistency, format and proof reading are properly handled. The team is confident that the end of November deadline will be met."

Note here and examination page here

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Examination Procedures

Examination procedures

28. The way that the examination is conducted is at the discretion of the appointed
person. For most issues, it is expected that the appointed person will be able to
reach conclusions on the basis of the information provided by the planning authority without the need to obtain any further information. However, the appointed person can request additional information from any identified person or organisation. When this occurs, the information will normally be requested in the form of a written submission, although oral evidence sessions can be held where further discussion or questioning is likely to be helpful. This is usually expected to take the form of a hearing, with a discussion led by the appointed person, rather than an inquiry.

29. In deciding whether further information is needed and what is the best procedure
to obtain it, the appointed person will take into account any opinions expressed by
the planning authority or by those made the representations. These should be
highlighted by the planning authority in the Schedule 4 forms.

[Scottish Government
Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals
August 2010


Full document here

Issues for (“Schedule 4 format”) HwLDP listed here on THC web site

The Development Plan is?

The development plan is a document that sets out how places should change and what they could be like in the future. It says what type of development should take place where, and which areas should not be developed. It sets out the best locations for new homes and businesses and protects places of value to people or wildlife.

The plan also helps development to take place quickly by describing how any new or improved facilities, such as roads, schools and parks, will be provided

More here


Interesting take on the term 'Development Management' - see 'Change of Plan?'

Web site here

[Liked the John Stuart Mill Quote]

Creativity not 'Lines on Maps'


Planning should be a creative discipline, fundamental to creating the places that we want to live in. The very best planning is about having a vision (think of Edinburgh’s New Town) and delivering it. Of course it has to pay attention to detail. But we have lost creativity in favour of rules, of lines on maps that can’t be moved, of the dreaded development control committee. These are all processes that stifle creativity and have at their heart the belief that development is almost certainly a bad thing.

From 'The Voice of Housing Associations', The National Housing Federation' - more here

Well there's no more DC in Scotland; lets see what happens.

Planning Code of Practice


As planning affects people's lives and private interests it can be very contentious. It is therefore important that public understand the system and has confidence in its integrity and transparency, and that Members and Officers avoid impropriety or even the suspicion of impropriety. This approach is endorsed by the Committee on Standards in Public Life (the Nolan Committee), District Audit and the Local Government Association.

[ Taken from 'Monmouthshire County Council, Planning Code of Practice - more here ]