It's been a while but the Highland Council's Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan has been analysed by Scottish Government Reporters and they have made their recommendations (which the Council will have to follow). Gurnites will recall that there were many critics of the plan locally, including the Community Councils and some specific zoning projections for development received considerable comment from residents. The Council then replied to the submissions and the whole package went down the road to the Scottish Government's officials who have the final say.
A copy of the Department of Planning and Environmental Appeals document is available on their site. Here is how you get to it in the DPEA's own words.
On entering the website, click on the tab “Examination Report” in the middle of the page and then under the “Document Name” tab, click on the blue highlighted “Report” document. The report will then download and you then click “open” to read the report.
The pages relevant to Nairn are 272-344. The reporters conclusions start at 331 and the recommendations start on 342.
The document will also be posted on the Highland Council's site. It contains details of the residents and CCs responses to the plans, the Council's position on the responses and the conclusions and recommendations of the DPEA reporters as far as Nairn is concerned. Here are the recommendations:
"It is recommended that:
1. Paragraph 4.34 be replaced with the following: ‘The town centre, lying to the west of the river has declined in recent years. Its regeneration to serve the needs of the growing town is a high priority. The council will work with the local community to implement the Town Centre Masterplan published in 2011 through development of an action plan to highlight options and mechanisms for funding and delivering regeneration of the town centre, harbour and waterfront areas.’
2. The last sentence of paragraph 4.39 be ended at ‘……settlement’ and the following additional sentence added: “Whilst capacity exists currently, the cumulative impact of all proposed development within the overall plan on shared treatment assets makes it necessary for early engagement to take place between developers and Scottish Water, to ensure any additional capacity demands in the future can be delivered in line with development.”
3. The following sentence be added to NA2: Requirements: ‘The required traffic and flood risk assessments may impact on the capacity of the site reducing the housing capacity below the currently projected capacity of 90 houses.
4. The following sentences be added to NA3: Requirements: ‘Constraints to development identified by the masterplan will have a significant effect in determining the numbers of houses able to be accommodated on the site.’
5. The last sentence of paragraph 4.37 be replaced with ‘Longer term development options at Nairn South are largely dependent on developers agreeing and delivering suitable improvements to the local road network.’
6. The requirements text for site NA8 be replaced with the following: “The Council will prepare a new Nairn South Strategic Masterplan that the Council may adopt as Statutory Guidance, setting out physical development considerations and requirements including transport requirements in terms of vehicular, pedestrian and cycle access to both the Town Centre and the wider area; connectivity within the site; green network and footpath/cycleway connections; phasing; open space provision and developer contributions. Applications only to be considered following adoption of the revised masterplan. Developers will be required to produce a transport assessment addressing deficiencies in the transport network in line with the adopted masterplan. Further requirements notably include landscaping; flood risk; provision of a recreational access management plan; consideration of potential heritage impacts; and the avoidance of any adverse effect on the integrity of the Inner Moray Firth SPA/Ramsar (see para. 4.40).
7. Site NA9 be deleted, and excluded from the settlement development area."
No doubt there will be much for those that made submissions to consider amongst those pages and they will be working out just how far the Reporters have aligned themselves with the council's vision and just how much they have listened to local concern. If time permits we hope to have a further browse of the conclusions later this weekend.
Tip: the recommendations and the whole document is littered with the "NA" numbers, these refer to sites around and in Nairn and reference to the Council's IMFLDP Nairn map below (click to enlarge) may be helpful for those serious students of these matters.