Friday, 30 November 2012

The Future in store for CCs?

Community Councils Short-Life Working Group
In December 2011, the Scottish Government established a short-life working group to consider and recommend how best to build the resilience, capacity, and capability of Community Councils in the future.  
The Scottish Government would like to thank the Group for its final report and recommendations, which include consideration of internal operations; Community Councils’ engagement and relationships with local authorities; the wider public sector; the general public; and the communities that they strive to represent. 
The Group agreed that in the spirit of partnership working and in recognition of the key role local authorities play in supporting Community Councils, its report should be presented to both the Scottish Government and COSLA to consider collectively and ultimately decide which recommendations should be taken forward. The Group also agreed that consideration of its recommendations would benefit from wider discussion and engagement with a range of stakeholders with an interest in the sector which will inform and support the future policy development of Scotland's Community Councils.

Why can't the Planning Department realise where they are going wrong?

I read the report on 'engagement' featured in the agenda item below with some trepidation and I do not feel reassured after reading it.  

17. Service Presentation – Approach to Engagement
Taisbeanadh Seirbheis – Dòigh-obrach a thaobh Com-pàirteachas

There is circulated Report No. cpe-29-12 (35kb pdf) dated 26 November 2012 by the Director of Planning and Development outlining the methods, tools and techniques for community engagement used by the Planning and Development Service that accord with the Scottish Community Development Centre’s ten national standards for community engagement.  It highlights a number of current and emerging examples of where the Service is delivering effective community engagement.

The Committee is invited to note the methods of consultation used by the Planning and Development Service.

My main source of difficulty is that I cannot agree with the use of 'charrettes' as an effective form of public engagement.   Then there are all the issues featured on this blog where the public have been let down by the council.  I will not go on it is too depressing.

Election dissection

16. Elections

i. Highland Elections: Encouraging Participation and Increasing Turnout
Taghaidhean na Gàidhealtachd: A’ Brosnachadh Com-pàirteachas is Ag Àrdachadh Frithealadh

Following the report to the first meeting of this Committee on voter participation, there is circulated Report No. cpe-28-12 (40kb pdf) dated by the Chief Executive setting out a number of initiatives to attempt to encourage electors to participate in the electoral process and come out to vote on election day.

ii. Scottish Local Government Election May 2012: Electoral Commission Report

There is circulated Report No. cpe-28A-12 (30kb pdf) by the Chief Executive dated 27 November 2012 providing Members with information on the findings of the Electoral Commission’s report on the May 2012 Local Government Election.

The Committee is asked to note the Electoral Commission’s report and recommendations.

[Community Safety, Public Engagement and Equalities Committee  Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness on Wednesday, 5 December 2012 at 10.30am.]

"National Community Planning Review"

18. National Community Planning Review
Ath-sgrùdadh Dealbhadh Coimhearsnachd Nàiseanta

There is circulated Report No. cpe-30-12 (69kb pdf) dated 27 November 2012 by the Head of Policy and Performance setting out the expected direction in new guidance for Community Planning Partnerships (CPPs) and Single Outcome Agreements (SOAs).  The guidance is now expected to be published in December 2012.

"Procedure for Consideration of Public Petitions"

This report invites Members to agree  a procedure to be adopted to allow for consideration of public petitions and to provide guidance of the principles to be included in the petitions procedure.

Background- Commitment Four of the Council’s Programme to Work Together to Empower 
our Communities is that ‘the Council will allow public petitions to be considered 
by the Council and relevant strategic committees.’ 

Petitions will not be (APTSec bold) accepted in respect of any of the following matters:-

a. Planning, licensing and other matters with their own procedures for 
objections and appeals e.g. Education Transport Appeals. 

b. Matters that are sub-judice or have the potential to involve the Council in 

c. Matters that may be referred to the Council’s complaints procedure or the 
Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. 

d. Matters concerning individual elected Members or Council employees. 

e. Matters concerning employees’ terms and conditions or employment. 

f. Housing Allocations, in respect of a specific individual or individual(s).

g. A decision made by the Council or any of its Committees or Boards made 
within the previous six months. 

h. Matters that have been considered following submission of a similar petition 
in the previous twelve months. 

i. Matters designed to gain or reduce support for one or more political parties. 

j. Matters that could damage a person’s reputation or discriminate against 

[ Agenda item 19 - Community Safety, Public Engagement and Equalities CommitteeCouncil Chamber, Council Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness on Wednesday, 5 December 2012 at 10.30am.]

"Approach to Evaluating the Operation of the Scheme for Community Councils "

Approach to Evaluating the Operation of the Scheme for Community Councils

Dòigh-obrach a thaobh Measadh air Obrachadh Sgeama nan Comhairlean Coimhearsnachd

There is circulated Report No. cpe-32-12 (20kb pdf) dated 21 November 2012 by the Corporate Manager setting out an approach to evaluating the operation of the new Community Council Scheme.

The Committee is asked to agree:

i. the approach to evaluating the Community Council Scheme as outlined at section 2.2 of the report; and
ii. the additional consultation with Community Councils as outlined at section 2.4 of the report.

[Agenda Item 20 - Community Safety, Public Engagement and Equalities CommitteeCouncil Chamber, Council Headquarters, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness on Wednesday, 5 December 2012 at 10.30am.]

Monday, 26 November 2012

"First Minister to deliver inaugural Shelter Scotland Lecture"

I have just received an email from 'Shelter Scotland'.  More details on their web page

Dear supporter,

The First Minister is going to deliver a lecture for us on Tuesday 27th November at 7.00pm on housing and social justice. The lecture is in memory of the late poet Edwin Morgan and marks the 2012 commitment to equalise the right of homeless people to permanent housing at the end of the year.

We’re really pleased Alex Salmond is giving the lecture and keen to hear what he has to say about the importance of housing and how we can deliver for the many people who are in housing need right now.
If you’d like to hear the speech you can follow our live stream on Tuesday 27th November at 7.00pm by visiting:

He’s also going to be answering questions after the lecture from the audience.  But we thought it was important that you as one of our supporters got the chance to ask him about homelessness and housing issues.  E-mail back your question and we’ll choose as many of the best ones as we can for our chair for the evening, Richard Holloway, to put to the First Minister - or submit your question on the night using the Social

Feed box on our live stream page.

And remember to tune in to our live stream to see if your question is asked.

Thanks for all your support.  And please take the time to get involved.  It’s important our politicians know what you think.

Graeme Brown,
Director, Shelter Scotland

Personally I think we should:

  • be building more social rented housing instead of having to build and sell 75% of a development to get 25% 'affordable';

  • be encouraging Governments to find the means of getting land cheaply in order to build for need instead of Government bowing to the demands of the 'build for profit' brigade;

  •  be asking for the production and release of robust data to show just how many can afford to buy (with ready access to mortgage finance) as opposed to those who do not have the means but still need homes.
What do you think?

West link application


Planning » Application Summary

The public consultation period for this application has ended. We are no longer accepting comments from the public on this application.

Alternative Reference:
Application Received:17 May 2012
Address:Land At Ness-Side West Of Dores Road Inverness
Proposal:Inverness West Link Road.
Status:Scoping Application Decision Issued
Appeal Status:
Appeal Decision:
There are 0 cases associated with this application.

"Inverness West Link Road - ground condition investigations under way."

Work is under way along the route of the Inverness West Link Road to establish ground conditions which will help inform the detailed design of the £27 million project.

The Highland Council has awarded a contract to Holequest Ltd of Galashiels to drill bore holes and trial pits along the line of the new route to establish full details of the exisiting ground conditions. Initial drilling has centred on the Canal Pitches, Queens Park and Torvean.

The information is vital to the detailed design work that is currently being progressed by Capita Symonds, who are assisting the Council’s Project Design Unit in providing detailed design, civil engineering and supporting services.

The ground investigation works are being carried out in two phases.  Phase 1 comprises trial pitting and boreholes and should be completed  in early January 2013 with Phase 2 to be undertaken in July 2013 and will see boreholes undertaken at the pier locations at the proposed new bridge over the River Ness.
Capita Symonds have made good progress with developing the road design.

The new road – situated at the western boundary of Inverness city – will link the Southern Distributor Road at Dores Road with the A82 Trunk Road at Torvean and will also include a new crossing of the River Ness and the Caledonian Canal.  Coupled with this, the outcomes of the recent charrette and land use strategy will be integrated with the revised road network in this area.  The new road will include allowances for enhancing the recreational facilities and providing improved cycling and walking infrastructure within the design area.

The commission for this stage of the project will take around 12 months and will allow the Council to move forward with publication of Orders and submission of a planning application.  When all consents are in place it is intended to construct the project in 2 Stages. The first stage will cross the River Ness and link the Dores Road Roundabout with the A82 Trunk Road and the second stage will provide for the tandem crossing of the Caledonian Canal at Torvean.