Monday, January 13, 2014

The connoisseur’s guide to reading the South Nairn planning appeal representations

The South Nairn planning appeal planning appeal will determine much about how Nairn grows in the future. As some would put it – will it be the sort of place that will grow according to a pace and suitability that its citizens determine - or will things be decided by planners and developers?
So much now rests in how it will all be determined by the Reporter appointed by the Scottish Government’s DPEA (Department of Planning and Environmental Appeals). That appeal is set to be decided by written evidence only but the town’s three Community Councils and a rival developer have called for a publicly accessible hearing where evidence can be cross examined. This observer is inclined to think that in the light of how this appeal is so important for Nairns’ future that would be a move that would be very much appreciated in Nairn. 

But in the meantime here’s a quick Gurn analysis of some of the representations made to DPEA so far. They are available on the DPEA website (details of how to get there at the bottom of this aricle)

1) Cathy Stafford’s submission focusses mainly on the planning-procedure issues, and argues pretty persuasively that the refusal-decision was properly arrived at on grounds that were justified:

2) The Nairn Residents Concern Group paper effectively addresses each of the arguments put forward by the Scotia group in their appeal-submission.

3) The initial document from Nairn’s Community Councils ensures that the Reporter has a complete picture of all the formal local objections in a full set of the various Nairn Community Council documents commenting on both incarnations of the Scotia application and on the site-masterplan drafted by the Council.  

4) Joan Noble has delivered a specific critique of the inadequacy of the Transport Assessment, as well as a swipe at the housing figures and forecasts:

5) Another document from the Community Councils -pictures on transport issues will give the Reporter a real-world understanding of the practical and physical limitations of the existing local roads and infrastructure.

6) Then there are a series of documents from individual local residents helping to make the point about local engagement and democratic decision-making.

7) The Allenby group's submission is pretty compelling too:  first, to argue that the appeal should be thrown out and declared null and void because of a string of legal/procedural points of non-compliance;  but then to argue that if the Reporter is nevertheless minded to examine the appeal, he should do so in a full hearing or enquiry where all the issues can be got out in the open and debated.

The Gurn also understands that there will be a further submission from the community councils and also representations from Gordons Sawmill. 

To access the documents online:
Unfortunately there seem to be some problems with the site just now and not every document is opening as it should but you can read most of the submissions at the moment – a lot may depend upon your browser. Another problem is that there is not a permanent link to the pages that list the documents, you have to go through the search process every time – the easiest way to do that just now is to go to this page, select Highland on the drop down authority list and once you click go the South Nairn application will be top of the list– a further click will get you there – there’s 14 pages of documents and the ones we mentioned are in the last pages. There will also of course also be material available from the appellant. DPEA have told the Gurn that they are aware of the issues on their site and working hard to correct them

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