Thursday, June 14, 2012

Inbhir Narann a Deas – South Nairn – Nurn Sud – Consultation (again!)

The Allenby proposal contestants were the latest to inflict planning consultation shell-shock on Rosemary Young and her band of fellow councillors last night as the Westies and a sprinkling of reps from the other two CCs plus members of the public filed into the stifling atmosphere of the music (sauna?) room at the Community Centre.

If the opportunity were there to give a sort of “Strictly Planning Consultation” mark to the contestants at the end of the proceedings then this observer would be torn between giving a seven or an eight. They were a pretty smart crew and knew their stuff. Yes, the Major’s hired hands did him proud and presented a lower density plan compared to the Scotia one and there were lots of trees on the maps too and plenty of allotments in the top left corner. Mouth-watering stuff for this observer – trees and plots – more please, from all of the contestants! Seriously, if something has to happen then perhaps it should be this, the trouble was as planning matters were debated once the contestants had left then there was nobody in the room willing to put their hand up to say there should be development on this part of Inbhir Narann a deas.

There was a lot of detail, including the desire to put in a link road between Balblair Road and the Cawdor Road. Revealingly the Major’s planning platoon was dismissive of the recent “improvements” under the railway bridge and consider traffic lights as the only solution there. Also the spat between this project and the rival Scotia bid continues with peace and love now seemingly even further away. This is what the main PowerPoint presentation mannie had to say in response to a point by Alistair Noble about public mistrust in all things planning:

“To be quite candid with you, we have been encouraging Highland Council to sit down with all the parties and have one decent roll the sleeves up workshop about how to design this phase – it’s not happening and tomorrow we’re supposed to be meeting with Highland Council, with Scotia and with the sawmill to sit down and doing a master planning exercise. We’ve withdrawn from that because Highland Council are employing Scotia’s landscape architects to facilitate that workshop.”
There then followed laughter from many parts of the room.

The manoeuvres continue on the Balblair planning battlefield as the general staffs of the rival bids continue to consider their options. How many more times will the poor bloody infantry of West Community Council and their fellow CCs in the town have to polish their thinking cap boots and turn up for consultation PowerPoint parade?

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