Regardless of the merits or otherwise of the Delnies planning application have Highland Council dragged their heels in dealing with it? John Mackie of Nairn Suburban Community Council certainly seems to think so.
John Mackie gave an update on a recent meeting of the town’s three Community Councils with the Cawdor Maintenance Trust concerning the Delnies planning application. He said:
“They have taken ownership of the access road into their development and they have an agreement with Transport Scotland and it is now going to go to planning and they accept that the roundabout will be further out than the original work was. The roundabout will then accommodate their development, when Sandown comes along Transport that will be a separate issue, Transport Scotland has said there won’t be another roundabout but they can have an access road in, and there will be joint access between Sandown and Delnies.
Really the main thrust of the meeting was that they’ve had a lot of talks with Highland Council, Transport Scotland and all the other folk to try and move their planning application forward. There’s been various reasons for the delay. I offered, and it is up to us here tonight, I offered to do a letter to put into the planning at Highland Coucil to say how disappointed we were that they’d ticked all the right boxes way back years ago and have been held back, where other developers come along, don’t even bother to consult, and seem to get pushed forward. I felt that they’re doing the planning a disservice by dragging their heels on this one. If they wait to take it to planning and throw it out, then that is a different kettle of fish but just to keep putting it on the back burner for evermore, didn’t seem right. I’ve been seeing all the consultation that Cawdor Maintenance Trust carried out, and if we want developers to take the legislation seriously then I think we should support the ones who do things right. So would you be in agreement for just a wee letter to say we’re disappointed with the time it has taken?”
Alistair Noble indicated he wasn’t happy with the idea of a letter. He made his case:
“Part of the whole reason for the kind of mess that we are in is that we haven’t a clear plan and basically what we have got is a 2000 and whatever it is local plan and it looks as though Delnies is potentially going to build a few houses in a field in the middle of nowhere with no infrastructure and no clear connection to anything else and we may not see Sandown ever built and we may just end up with a few houses at Sandown and nothing else. My preferred option would be to look at this in the context of the sort of discussion we’re having around the Inner Moray Firth, a sensible and cohesive way forward. “
John replied, “The planning application is in and being held back and held back by Highland Council or whoever and that is not the way to do it. If they don’t agree with it then they can throw it out.” He went on to say how Alan Farningham for the Trust had said that nothing was likely to happen for at least five years.
“That makes it, in my opinion, even dafter to go ahead and do it.” Replied Alistair.
The discussion continued and a compromise on the letter was reached, Alistair said, “ I have no difficulty writing to say to Highland Council they haven’t handled it very well as long as we are not suggesting in any way that that means any approval for Delnies.”