Friday, 16 March 2012

For a regular reader - thanks for your support

This one is for an especially faithful follower of my blog:

A little non-planning something you might enjoy hearing about:

India's Sachin Tendulkar has become the first player to score 100 international centuries by compiling a ton in a one-day game - more here

Catching up with 'Local' Transport issues

Sorry folks should have popped this up sooner but better late than never.

From Scottish Government web site (on 080212) here;

Details of how new budget allocations will be spent were unveiled by Finance Secretary John Swinney in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon.
The specific transport strand of the announcement represents a package of almost £72 million aimed at improving journey times, relieving congestion and making Scotland’s roads even safer.
The Highlands
  • Over £12 million funding for Highland road projects
  • New funding to take forward design work to complete the dualling of the A9 between Perth and Inverness and upgrade the A82
Transport Minister Keith Brown said:
"This significant funding boost is further evidence of our determination to use all the levers at our disposal to create and safeguard jobs. The allocation of these budgets will help deliver our transport priorities at a national and local level. The dualling of the A9 between Perth and Inverness by 2025, along with our plans to dual the A96, will mean that by 2030 all Scotland’s cities will be connected by a high quality and high capacity transport network.

Interested in the Water Environment?

Delivering Scotland’s River Basin Management Plans: A Consultation on Proposed Amendments to General Binding Rules  Link here

This consultation is to give stakeholders the opportunity to respond to proposed
changes to The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations
2011 (CAR). These amendments are to take account of recent changes to
European legislation that will have an effect on certain activities which could have an
adverse impact on Scotland’s water environment. There are also some proposed
amendments to the Regulations on points of clarification and consolidation.

In accordance with section 21 subsection (2) of the Water Environment and Water
Services Act (Scotland) 2003, the proposed amendments to the rules in Schedule 3
to the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2011 are set
out in section 4 and will be consulted upon for 28 days.
Responses should reach us by 8 April 2012. Early responses would be welcome.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

"The role of Councillors: Report of an Inquiry"

Click here

"The Role of a Councillor - Scottish Borders"

The Role of a Councillor

Scottish Borders Councillors are elected by you, the local community, to represent both the public interest and individuals in their ward. They are responsible for making decisions about local services on your behalf. They attend meetings, support the local community and establish links with local organisations and campaigns.
Councillors agree policies for providing services within the Council’s area These services are then managed on a day to day basis by officers employed by the Council. Councillors also make decisions about the Council’s budget.
From Scottish Borders Council web site here

"The job of a councillor"

What is the job of a Councillor?

The role of a councillor includes:
  • giving residents advice and help, usually by holding regular "surgeries", where they make themselves available in places like schools and libraries to allow members of the public to come to them with their problems
  • representing the local area, making sure its needs are taken into account e.g. when proposals are being discussed at Committees
  • listening to local people and groups, encouraging their involvement and ensuring they are kept informed about things which affect them
  • developing policies and planning services to meet the needs of the city as a whole
  • representing the council on other bodies, including partnership groups involving the police and the health service, to ensure that local needs are met by all public services
  • sitting as members of council committees dealing with all the functions of the council and its departments
  • making decisions about planning and licensing applications and policies
  • setting standards for customer service and scrutinising the performance of the council's departments
From Dundee City Council web site here

"Stand for What you Believe In..."

Click here

How to become a Councillor - South Ayrshire

From South Ayrshire site here

...Do you want to see a difference in your local community?
Do you think quality of life should be improved for your neighbours?
If the answers are yes and these are the kind of issues that matter to you, then you could be just the person to help make that happen by becoming a Councillor at this year’s Council election on Thursday 3 May 2012.
Schools, leisure, care services, parks, roads, environmental health, refuse collections, trading standards, and arts and culture are just some of the services delivered by Councils on a daily basis.
No other level of government gives you the chance to make such a difference to the everyday lives of people and communities. And this could be exactly what you could achieve after 3 May 2012 when voters across Scotland will elect the people they want as their Councillors...

"How to become a councillor - West Lothian"

Herein an extract from the West Lothian Council web site (link here):

Why become a councillor?

You may be motivated by a sense of civic duty and desire to serve your local community, a single issue or a number of different issues. Above all you must believe that you are the person to be a voice for the concerns of the community and to help solve them.  However, you must be aware of the workload involved. 

The role of a councillor 

Councillors play a role in important policy making - identifying the needs of the community, setting objectives to meet those needs, prioritising between differing demands and allocating resources.
The primary role, however, is to represent the interests of local residents. As such they must provide community guidance and leadership, aiding communication between residents and the local authority.

Final Conference for ASCC

Learning from the Past - Preparing for the Future

Association of Scottish Community Councils (ASCC) Conference 2012

18th April 2012
10:30 am - 3:30 pm
Doubletree by Hilton
Dunblane Hydro
Perth Road, Dunblane FK15 0HG
Tel: 01786 822551
Everyone is welcome. The day will give Community Councillors an opportunity to hear what is influencing the sector and contribute thoughts on how to develop a strong and vibrant Community Councils.
Confirmed Speakers:
Link to site here

Local Government in Scotland

A Brief Introduction to Local Government in Scotland

Local Government landscape

Scottish local government consists of 1,222 elected councillors operating within 32
councils. These local authorities are responsible for managing and delivering a range of
services, from education and social work to leisure and recreation. Their geographical
coverage ranges from 26 square miles in Dundee to 12,437 square miles in the
Highlands, while their population ranges from under 20,000 people in the Orkney Islands
Council area to over 600,000 in the Glasgow City Council area.

Full item here

E-planning difficulties mean extra time for comment

From THC home page

E-planning: We would like to apologise for the difficulties accessing the ePlanning web pages recently. As a result, the period for lodging representation and consultation comments for applications notified during the period 2 – 9 March, will be extended for a period of 7 calendar days. link here

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

"...Councils find it tough to get development going at employment sites

Apparently, according to a new study report by 'NLP',  ...three-quarters of councils in England and Wales have allocated employment sites that have not seen development in more than a decade.  

Planning Magazine covers this in more detail here and notes that:

'NLP, which received responses from 90 councils in a survey carried out for the report, said the study was drawn up in response to government initiatives to boost jobs and growth, such as the introduction of enterprise zones and the coalition's Plan for Growth to encourage private sector investment.'

The article includes a list of 'Employment site blocks'  -as per the  ''Percentage of councils citing the following as factors deterring development'' .  Top of the list of deterrents seems to be 

Different use aspirations for the site by owners'  - 69% 

Followed by:

High developer risk for speculative development - 63% 

High cost of providing site infrastructure - 59% 

The article notes that the planning system does not seem to be a significant barrier.

There is no breakdown in the article re the aspect of landowner aspiration.

I wonder what the situation is in Scotland?

Review of Speed Limits on A and B Class Roads

Speed Limit Review Report going to TECS Committee on 15 March 2012:


'The Scottish Government requires all Local Authorities to review the speed limits on A and B Class Roads within their areas. This report updates Members on the progress of this review, the methodology to be used for carrying it out and the resource implications of completing the review.

Members are invited to approve:

I. The objectives and methodology for carrying out the speed limit review on A and B Class roads set out in the report.

II. The list of routes identified for further study as part of the review as listed in Appendices 1 & 2.

Members are also invited to note that further reports will be made to the TEC Services Committee when a route has been identified for a change to the speed limit.'

Full report at link here   Details on A and B roads listed in appendices at rear of report.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Work to clear Nairn sites expected soon

Work begins to clear two town centre sites in Nairn (12/03/12)

Work is expected to start soon on two projects to remove disused properties in the centre of Nairn.
A contract has been let for the demolition of the former Community Centre on King Street and Morrison Construction will move on to the site soon. The value of the works is £80,000.
And agreement has been reached for the demolition of the nearby disused petrol filling station in a separate contract awarded to William Munro Construction (Highland) Ltd.  This work, costing £55,000, will commence early next month.
The Council has longer term plans for the redevelopment of the Community Centre land but in the short term intends using it for free car parking.
The Highland Council Convener Sandy Park is delighted that progress is being made in clearing the two sites.
He said: “It is great to see things beginning to happen in the town centre. The demolitions will pave the way for new development  which will greatly enhance our town centre.  In the short term the extra car parking is very welcome.  The support of The Co-operative in agreeing to the clearance of their petrol filling station site is much appreciated. It helps the momentum of what we are trying to achieve in the town centre.”

From THC press release here