Monday, September 28, 2009

Back to the Highland Wide Local Development Plan (HwLDP)

Make no mistake Gurnites this is a very important document and whether you (like many) think that ‘consultation’ is a dirty word or not you have to get involved this time. As the Nairn Matters blog states:
‘The public is invited to make its views known by the 9th November. A meeting will be held in Nairn on the 2nd Oct for open discussion. Let’s be clear. If these plans go forward it will bring about one of the biggest changes to the Highland way of life since the Clearances, especially around the Inner Moray Firth.’

You may have already read this post on Nairn Matters but we recommend a return to consider two comments that have been made. Here are two extracts:

‘Who “says” we have to have all this development? I was told this was all in “THE PLAN” by a young representative of the council. Whose plan? Why? Who is going to benefit? This will bring in more revenue for councils and the government but why do we have to suffer by having a huge conurbation on our door step? If we do go ahead with all this development, does that mean that we will perhaps be given a Nairn bypass and only then? Is this the carrot dangling?’

And the Nairn Residents Concern Group have said:
‘No other town in the Highlands has been targetted for such large scale housing development; even the City of Inverness, itself, sees only an increase of 7500 people and 3400 houses
The outcome for Nairn is that it will become a cast off area for Inverness, with all that that entails. Tourism has been totally neglected in the HwLDP particularly with respect to Nairn, which is seen only as an area for housing development – of big bucks for the property developers and the ’stack em and rack em’ building philosophy!
Perhaps the HwLDP should have addressed the issues which affect its current residents – i.e. the state of Nairn Town Centre. Surely by having an attractive Centre, Tourism will flourish, self employed home-working people will come, small businesses will start up and in the end everyone will be happy. However, the real answer is that Highland Council do not have the money to redevelop our Town Centre except through allowing property developers to build houses which will attract A96 protocol contributions to enable infrastructure and town regeneration to be afforded.
I believe that this inverted way of thinking will create massive problems for Nairn and will destroy the very essence of the unique character of our environment.’

And what of the Main Issues report, the reasoning behind which Highland Council set out their stall. The APT blog has posted a comment it has received and here’s an extract:

‘First, it is a complete nonsense to call a plan ‘local’ if it is to cover a third of Scotland, an area larger than Belgium. At the least, a full Structure Plan should be produced for this vast area.
Second, the whole plan lacks a 21st c. vision for the area and seems stuck in 1970s thinking. It seems to revolve around creating a large urban / suburban sprawl along the A96, completely dependent on road and air transport and destroying excellent agricultural land in the process. There are very few proposals for anywhere else. This will suck people and resources out of the areas of Highland further away from Inverness, which need investment and support much more than Inverness does. In fact the key benefit of the plan seems to be to pour more money into the pockets of a few wealthy individuals at the expense of the Highlands as a whole.

Read the full APT article here. There is another post on the APT today that quotes concerns that are being raised elsewhere in the Highlands about this planned development. The West Highland Free Press states:
Relocating Inverness College and the Scottish Agricultural College, along with a range of businesses, on farmland to the east of the city runs hand-in-hand with plans by Highland Council to develop the A96 corridor out to Nairn. The local authority want to see 30,000 new residents in that area by 2030.
‘The announcement that a huge chunk of HIE’s budget is to be spent on a prosperous area drew a furious reaction from the Western Isles, where the agency’s contribution in 2009 has so far amounted to just £350,000.Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Leader Angus Campbell said he was “increasingly concerned” by their approach.“HIE should be seeking to spread opportunity to the more fragile parts of the Highlands and Islands rather than consolidating into the Inner Moray Firth and pouring ever-increasing levels of resource into the already booming economy of Inverness,” he said.’
The APT rightly questions the serious effects that this overbalance of development in the Nairn & Inverness area will have,
more here.
If we don’t want to see everything between Nairn and Inverness concreted over we have to get involved Gurnites.


Nairnac said...

"In fact the key benefit of the plan seems to be to pour more money into the pockets of a few wealthy individuals at the expense of the Highlands as a whole."

That paragraph in your article pretty much sums up the position.

It seems increasingly obvious that Highland Council and the HIE are as enthralled with big shot highland businessmen as nulabor are with the spivs in the city of london.

Graisg said...

I suppose one could be forgiven for thinking or feeling that. Being the devil's advocate for a moment I'd just like to say that perhaps up to now we have all been trapped in a planning system that just wasn't made for an age where greater transparency is required. So let's see how we all get on under the new revamped system that was brought in by the Scottish Government in August. Will more of us be satisfied?
In the meantime get your teeth into this Main Issues report and articulate your concerns as part of this consultation process. Keep tuned to the Nairn blogosphere for more details.