Monday, January 27, 2014

South Nairn planning appeal – hearing likely in April

Initially it seemed that the Scottish Government’s Reporter appointed by DPEA to determine the South Nairn application for 319 homes and infrastructure on the Cawdor Road was to consider written submissions only and have a site visit, now the process will probably expand into a two day affair with a site visit and a day and a half’s hearing. 

Latest correspondence uploaded onto the DPEA online case file included an e-mail to Highland Council and the agent acting for the appellants. The case officer is quoted:

“The reporter is minded to hold a 2 day hearing regarding above (probably 1½ - day hearing plus site visit probably) and has pencilled in 7 and 8 April 2014. Can you advise if this would be suitable?”

A reply came back from the appellant’s consultants containing the following:” Unfortunately these days are proving difficult for the appellant. Please would it be possible to provide for alternative dates, which do not coincide with the Easter holiday period as availability will be easier to organize.”

Planning appeals seem to show no mercy for family arrangements during school breaks however, the DPEA case officer said: “The reporter advises that to ensure the timeous handling and determination of appeals it is not possible to avoid school holiday dates. The reporter will review his timetable over the coming days but cannot discount the possibility that the Hearing dates will fall during weeks commencing 7 or 14 April.”

So, those serious students of these matters can expect a couple of days at a hearing at a venue in Nairn during April. The Reporter has an option of courses of action he or she can take to determine an appeal and it seems this one is (so far) not minded to go all the way up the scale to a Public Inquiry over the South Nairn application. The Scottish Government website offers the following information:

” The reporter appointed to consider an appeal will make a decision as soon as he/she is able to do so. However, it is sometimes necessary to obtain some further information on a particular matter before the appeal can be decided. Where this happens, the reporter may choose to carry out one or more of these further procedures:

Inspection of the site
Further written submissions
Hearing session
Inquiry session”

Meanwhile in Last Friday’s Inverness Courier, Charles Allenby’s, agent has expressed his exasperation with Highland Council. A page 4 article by Donna MacAllister reads:

A DEVELOPER has accused Highland Council of deliberately trying to put off making a decision about his controversial development plans.
Planning consultant Robert Evans suspects the local authority is purposely postponing its decision on his client’s 250-home scheme at Balblair Road, Nairn South. 
Mr Evans, who represents Nairn Landowner Charles Allenby, believes the council is waiting to find out if its recent decision to turn down a similar housing scheme by a rival developer in the same part of town will be overturned by the government.”

The article goes on to say that a Highland Council official strongly denies the claim 

Gurnites can read all the latest submissions to the planning appeal here (search via Authority area, chose Highland and it comes up presently at the top of the list). There are currently 17 pages of links to documents that have been posted and there will probably be more as the appellant had 14 days from the 17th of January to respond to submissions received by the appeal team. 

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