Thursday, September 12, 2013

South Nairn - Colin: "I have to say it’s not as black and white as it's painted"

More from the River Community Council meeting last night (Weds 11/09/13) where the subject of South Nairn raised its ugly head again. Next to speak was Cllr Simon Noble of River CC. He said:

“Highland Council officers attended a joint community council meeting in January of this year. Again all the community councils raised concerns, both about the infrastructure and a number of other issues but most specifically about the process of monitoring and enforcing planning decisions. One of the biggest concerns whether Highland Council makes a decision or not to approve this particular application is if it is made on a conditional basis, that then the developers are held to account for what they do. We know from the Lochloy development that the developers were not held to account by Highland Council because for example there is no bridge in place and that was part of the conditions of the planning approval, the development approval then years ago.

So we know that there are problems about enforcement and we raised this in January and we proposed that Highland Council consider including local representatives, potentially from community councils but certainly local representatives in whatever body they might chose to set up as a way of actually monitoring and ensuring enforcement of the planning conditions which are laid down. I think we have set out concerns both on infrastructure and also about enforcement of subsequent…”

The Chair, Tommy Hogg then intervened:
“What amazes me too is the fact that, the way it is being publicised at the moment through the press etc. Everybody seems to think that it is just one development but they don’t seem to realise within the next couple of months there’s another application for another 290 which will be near 600 in total.  When you take it in that context it is a heck of a strain on the infrastructure.”

Tommy then allowed Colin to speak. Colin mentioned that he was restricted in the territory that he could speak due to the planning process and then said:

“I have to say it’s not as black and white as it's painted. Officers have come out to Nairn and they have listened. What they’ve not done is taken on board all the criticism that has been taken. They’ve taken on board what they have described, I suppose, as material considerations and then they’ve responded to them. Now I don’t like some of the responses, you don’t like some of the responses, but they have come out and done the listening. You were here at a joint community council where they did do that. When you look at the report the objections are there. It’s what they say in terms of I guess is the thing that causes the particular angst and the particular difficulty.

As Liz has said the proposal is inside the development plan and to my mind, as a personal view and I’ve said it in a whole range of places: our local government system isn’t the way it should be for these decisions and it’s not just for Nairn. I sit in that committee and I’ll make decisions about Lochaber. I’ll make decisions about the small isles. I’ll make decisions about a wind farm that is very remote from my ken. But you do it based on the information that you are fed on the day, you are advised by officials in terms of the legality or otherwise and then what you do is the best thing on the day weighing up these pros and cons.

 It’s not easy and sometimes we’re kind of dragged, I guess, the easiest way to describe is almost negotiating on the hoof kind of thing. But one of the things that came through from this one was the pause and review and that was something that wasn’t in the original one, basically it would have been 300 or 500 or whatever else. But we’ve got this pause and review and on top of that we’ve got a community liaison group. Now within that community liason group there has to be local people living proximal so we can input to that and I hope that happens. Between now and next week there might be other kind of gives and takes. I don’t know that but we are faced with that decision next Wednesday"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is the best argument I've seen in a long time for a return to District Council level. As Colin points out he is having to make decisions on other areas, as their representatives do on Nairn. He says he is fed information from officials and has to make a decision on the day.

In an ideal world he should be finding out information himself and not making decisions solely based on what he has been fed from someone else.

Bring back the likes of Chrissy Ellen and Meg Anderson, they knew what was going on in the town because they were out and about on the streets.