Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sandown Appeal - Letter from NRCG to Gurnites - Council's Statement of Case details now published

'The date for the Sandown appeal hearing is now set for the periods 2nd to 5th: and 9th and 10th March 2010 at a venue yet to be decided but probably the Newton Hotel. We are aware that many people (over 200- a figure verified with Highland Council records) made written objections via Highland Council concerning Deveron Highlands current proposals for Sandown;and that others made similar verbal representations at the May planning hearing.

As we approach the end of 2009 the Nairn Residents Concern Group thought it appropriate that we give the people of Nairn an update on our approach to the appeal. In addition,we would like to thank everyone who voiced objections for their continued interest in making sure Nairn gets the size and style of development that matches or betters the existing quality of the community.

NRCG have applied for, and been granted, "Relevant Person" status for the appeal process and have submitted a "Statement of Case" to the appeal hearing Reporter appointed by Scottish Government. This will be supported by further documentation being prepared in the coming months. From the 15 December 09 the NRCG Statement of Case and those of the other protagonists have been be on the Scottish Governments Directorate for Planning & Environmental Appeals (DPEA) website

We are now the only independent body representing Nairn objectors who hold this privilege within the appeal process, the local community councils while they will be making representation at the hearing in March have opted not to make a formal Statement of Case within the appeal process or to be "Relevant Persons".

The Highland Council case for rejection of the appeal will be led by a team consisting Highland Council Solicitor Miss McLeod, Cllr S Park, and an external planning consultant. At the time of writing, we believe that there are no officials from the Councils Planning Department identified on the Highland Council team.

The public should be clear however, that this is an inquiry into the planning merits of the appeal proposal. Matters regarding: undertakings associated with bid offers; the content of missives; land purchase prices; land sale; profit levels; commercial viability; reference to Audit Scotland; the alleged motivation of the developers, the council and its officers; and complaints about the council's processing of the application are not within the remit of the inquiry. Consequently, debate (and documents) on those matters will not be admitted at the inquiry sessions.

So we wish our supporters the compliments of the season and encourage you to keep asking questions of your elected representatives and community councils. We'd also ask that you put the appeal dates in your calendar now and to come along on the day to support our efforts to influence the outcome of the current Sandown proposal.'

Brian Lynch
(On behalf of Nairn Residents Concern Group)
Benview, Sandown Farm Lane, Nairn.
Tel 01667451574

Thanks Brian, Season's greetings to the NRCG too. Here's hoping for a satisfactory outcome. Brian also draws our attention to the Highland Council's statement of case now posted on the Scottish Government's website. What is interesting is the following section Appendix C of that document.
'Should the Reporter decide to approve the application, THC suggests that the following conditions be attached to the grant of any consent:'
Obviously a fall-back position for the council should they lose the appeal and standard practice. One could be forgiven for wondering how confident the Highland Council are however?
See the full document here and all other documents registered with the inquiry here.
The latest document on the site indicates the inquiry will be in the community centre. Seagulls will have to be on their best behaviour again!
The Sainsbury's inquiry proved that public opinion was a factor in the eventual outcome, we agree with Brian and would urge Gurnites to go along to the inquiry in March.

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