Minutes of Meeting of the Planning, Development, Europe and Tourism Committee held in the Council Chamber, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness, on Wednesday, 28 September 2005 at 10.30a.m.
Mr A S Park, Mr A I MacDonald, Mr R Saxon, Mr J H Green, Mr G M Smith,Mrs A Magee, Mr D Allan, Mr F R M Keith, Mr A Torrance, Mr E C MacKinnon, Mrs V MacIver, Mr R Durham, Mr M M Macmillan, Mr B Barclay, Mr I MacDonald Mr J Laing, Mr W Fulton, Mr S J Shiels, Mr R Lyon, Mr C L Goodman, Mr J Gray, Mrs K G Matheson, Mr R Wynd, Mrs L MacDonald, Mr B M S Dunlop, Mr A Gordon,
Dr M E M Foxley, Mrs O Macdonald, Mr A R McFarlane Slack.
Non-Members also Present:
Mr D MacKay, Mr T Jackson, Mr D M Flear, Ms K MacNab, Mr W J Ross, Mrs R Finlayson, Mr D W Briggs, Mrs M E Paterson, Mrs A MacLean, Mrs I McCallum, Mrs I Campbell, Mrs H Carmichael, Mr N M Clark.
Officials in attendance:
Mr J D Rennilson, Director of Planning and Development
Mr J Greaves, Head of Planning and Building Standards
Mr M Greaves, Head of Development and Strategy
Mr G Robson, Head of Environment
Mr A McCann, Economy and Europe Manager
Mr M MacLeod, Policy and Information Manager
Mr R Patton, Forestry Officer
Mr C Wishart, Senior Planner
Mrs R Moir, Principal Administrator, Corporate Services
Ms L Lee, Committee Administrator, Corporate Services
Mr A S Park in the Chair
An asterisk in the margin denotes a recommendation to the Council.
All decisions with no marking in the margin are delegated to the Committee
1. Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Mr R McIntyre, Mr J MacDonald, Mr N Donald and Mr B Clark.
2. Scottish Natural Heritage – Presentation
Mr Jeff Watson, Director of Strategy and Operation (North), Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), made a presentation to the Committee on the role of SNH in the planning process.
This covered a range of issues including: the good working relationships and effective working protocol with the Council; decentralisation and progress with the new SNH Headquarters in Inverness; the substantial contribution to the economy attributable to the environment; the change in emphasis with regard to agriculture where focus had moved from food production to delivering public good through the environment; SNH’s support for Renewable Energy developments, where appropriate, in view of climate change; the impact of legislation including (i) the Nature Conservation Act 2004 which required all public bodies to develop and protect biodiversity and (ii) European Union (EU) Directives, including for Natura sites; SNH’s support for the Council’s work in establishing a Highland Biodiversity Partnership; the growing recognition by the Scottish Executive (SE) of the value of and the need to retain the environment, and SNH’s role in identifying sites for a Marine National Park.
Wide ranging discussion followed and, in response to questions raised, Mr Watson advised that:
- in his view, development of community planning relating to environmental
issues would require input at the grass roots level, the present approach
being “top down”, and interest and enthusiasm needed to be built amongst
- he would provide feedback to the local Member for Kinlochshiel on SNH
concerns regarding water supply being taken from Loch Lundie and Loch
Achaidh na h-Inich in the Plockton area, which it was understood were
preventing a social housing development
whilst requiring to operate within the terms of legislation, SNH nonetheless
sought to achieve compromises and use discretion according to local
circumstances, although this could lead to criticisms of inconsistency; and
specific concerns relating to Golden Eagles would be discussed after the
meeting with the individual Member who had raised the query
- further decentralisation of SNH was unlikely, as SNH offices were already
more widely dispersed than other government departments; whilst
recognising the importance of SNH jobs in remote areas, this arrangement
was costly and it was possible that SNH would seek to share premises with
other bodies in future, to ensure a continued rural office presence
- the Scottish Executive Environment and Rural Affairs Department (SEERAD)
consultation on the EU Rural Development Regulation was a huge
opportunity, to which SNH were actively responding; the response would
reflect the views of the Highlands and Islands, but also those of rural areas
further south; SNH might speak further with the Council before submitting
their response, which would be available on the SNH website
- with regard to the establishment of a Marine National Park, no sites would
be identified until SNH had completed work on the criteria which would be
used in assessing the relative merits of different sites
- if individual Members felt strongly that a particular site should be promoted
for the Marine National Park, they could contact the Scottish Executive
direct, perhaps conjoining support from neighbouring Members, and advice
on how best to make such an approach could be sought from the local SNH
- SNH had no input to or control over Ministry of Defence (MOD) operations
such as aircraft activity in the Tain area
- SNH agreed that SE guidance was required on partnership working, such as
with the Moray Firth Partnership (MFP), and should include consideration of a
full range of socio-economic issues as well as the environment; funding
arrangements extending to only 3 years did not allow for the best long term
planning; SNH support for the MFP would continue
- a meeting between SNH, the Council’s Land and Environment Select
Committee and other agencies (eg. Scottish Executive Fisheries
Department) as appropriate could be useful, to discuss matters relating to a
Marine National Park and coastal protection areas, including foreseeable
opposition to the establishment of these areas from existing groups not
necessarily acting primarily in the interests of local residents or tourists and
also the vital issue of control of hazardous cargoes through the Minch.
Members expressed appreciation for the good working relationship between the Council and SNH and the Chairman thanked Mr Watson for his informative presentation. The Committee NOTED the matters discussed.
3. Revenue Expenditure Monitoring Statement
There had been circulated and NOTED Report No. PDET69/05 dated 21 September 2005 by the Director of Planning and Development on Revenue Expenditure on the Planning and Development Service for the period to 31 August 2005.
4. Capital Expenditure Monitoring Statement
There had been circulated and NOTED Report No. PDET70/05 dated 19 September 2005 by the Director of Planning and Development on Capital Expenditure on the Planning and Development Service for the period to 31 August 2005.
5. Revised 5-Year Capital Programme
There had been circulated and NOTED Report No. PDET71/05 dated 20 September 2005 by the Director of Planning and Development on adjustments to the five-year capital programme consequent on the deferral or transfer of certain projects.
Concerns were raised regarding the reduction in the proposed budget for Dingwall High Street works from £450,000 to £250,000 and, in this regard, local Members were advised to speak with the Vice-Convener prior to the Budget Working Group meeting scheduled for 29 September 2005.
In light of the differing levels of funding support provided by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) for investment in Environmental Improvement and Streetscape projects, and the increasing difficulties experienced in gaining this funding, the Committee AGREED that talks be held between the Council and HIE on this matter.
6. Notice of Review
05/00299/Outrc – Formation of Five House Plots Served by an Access Road and Waste Water Drainage System at Redcastle Station, Kilcoy, Muir Of Ord, Ross-Shire By Burton Property Trust
In terms of Standing Order 13.2, the following Member had applied for and been granted a local member vote: Mrs I McCallum.
At its meeting held on 5 September 2005, the Ross and Cromarty Planning Committee had approved planning permission for the formation of five house plots served by an access road and waste water drainage system at Redcastle Station, Kilcoy, Muir of Ord, Ross-shire by Burton Property Trust, subject to conditions set out in the recommendation by the Area Planning and Building Control manager in his report No. RP/120/05 and to additional conditions recommended at the meeting. A notice of review had been received, signed by Councillors Mrs I McCallum, Mrs R Finlayson, Mrs M E Paterson, Mrs A Maclean, Mr D Chisholm, Mr A Mackay, Mr R W Barclay and Mr M M MacMillan, seeking to rescind this decision and instead to substitute a decision to defer determination of the application to afford the applicants further opportunity to discuss with Planning Officers the possibility of reducing the number of house plots on the site from five to four. In this regard, there had been circulated Report No. RP/120/05 together with extract from the draft Minutes of the meeting of 5 September and a copy of the Hearings Procedure. There was also tabled a copy of a fax dated 23 September 2005 from Strutt and Parker, the agents for the applicants, requesting that the application be held in abeyance pending submission of a revised application which would more closely reflect the settlement character and layout in accordance with advice received from Planning Officers.
Having NOTED the tabled correspondence and been advised that (i) Planning Officers were of the view that deferral to allow for submission of an outline planning application as set out in the tabled fax from Strutt and Parker represented the best way forward, notwithstanding the set down procedures for hearings once all parties had been notified, (ii) the local Member and the Chairperson of Ross and Cromarty Planning Committee both accepted the Planning Officer’s views and (iii) should the proposed new application be refused or not submitted within a reasonable timescale, the Notice of Review procedures would be resumed, the Committee AGREED that consideration of the application be DEFERRED meantime, pending the outcome of a new application to Ross and Cromarty Area Planning Committee on the basis that, should the new application be successful, the current application would be withdrawn.
The Chairman apologised to parties who had attended the meeting for the hearing for any inconvenience caused by this decision, but expressed the view that the best planning outcome was more likely to be achieved by this approach.
7. EU Regional Policy Post-2006
At its meeting held on 24 March 2004 the Committee had agreed that a report on the development of EU Regional Policy post-2006, and in particular progress on the case for Objective 1b status for the Highlands and Islands, be brought to each future meeting of the Committee.
The Chairman reported that on 22 September 2005 representatives of Highland Council, Western Isles Islands Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) had met with Alun Michael, the UK Minister for Regional Development, with regard to European Structure funding post-2006. The Convener had attended the meeting and reported that the discussions had been useful, with the Minister now acknowledging the geographical challenges of this area, which comprised over 50% of the landmass of Scotland, had more than 90 inhabited islands, yet held only 8% of the population. The Minister also accepted that it could take considerable time for a region to realise the benefits from structural funding and that it was therefore important for support to continue over an extended period of time.
The Convener further reported that, whilst there had, as yet, been no decision regarding the size of the EU budget, the EU was nonetheless drawing up its Community priorities, which would follow the Lisbon agenda in promoting a knowledge-based economy. The UK would then draft National Guidelines under the Community priorities and these would include separate chapters for Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The Scottish chapter would be compiled by the Scottish Executive and it was therefore important to influence the Scottish Executive in this regard, as well as to continue dialogue at UK level. Although it was hoped that the Highland GDP would increase in the next three years, if this were not to a sufficient extent, EU funding for 87iii(a) status would not automatically move away. There were also proposals to streamline the audit process and this was welcomed.
During discussion, Members highlighted the need for the Council also to take appropriate account of the impact of the proposed Scottish Rural Development Strategy and Rural Development Plan arising out of the EU Rural Development Regulation.
The Committee AGREED to continue lobbying for European funding for the Highlands at Scottish Parliament, UK and European levels and NOTED the Convener’s comments and that she would be writing to Alun Michael, UK Minister for Regional Development, to thank him for the recent meeting and to invite him to Highland, and also to Allan Wilson, SE Deputy Minister for Enterprise and Life Long Learning with responsibility for European funding, to ask for a meeting regarding issues facing the Highlands and Islands, together with representatives of Highlands and Islands European Partnership.
8. Highland Renewable Energy Strategy
At its meeting held on 26 January 2005, the Committee had appointed a Renewable Energy Strategy Working Group to steer, with participation from outside organisations, the preparation of a strategic comprehensive Highland renewable energy strategy for discussion at the August meeting of the Committee. To that end, a programme of six Working Group meetings had been drawn up. However, due to the complexity of the subject matter and the need for consideration to be given to a wide range of related issues, the Working Group had agreed to adjourn its sixth meeting and to reconvene on 19 August 2005, with a view to a report being brought to this meeting of the Committee.
There had been circulated Report No. PDET72/05 dated 16 September 2005 by the Director of Planning and Development summarising the draft policy documents compiled by the Council’s consultants, Aquatera Ltd, further to the deliberations of the Working Group.
There had also been circulated separately as Booklet A the report from the Council’s consultants, Aquatera, entitled “Highland Renewable Energy Strategy” and, as Booklet B, “Draft Planning Guidelines.”
The Director’s report invited the Committee to consider the terms of the Draft Strategy and Draft Planning Guidelines, together with the supporting Highland Renewable Energy Resource Assessment (RERA) database and Draft Strategic Environmental Assessment Statement (SEA) documents, both available in the Members’ Library or on request, and to approve their publication as the basis for public consultation, as well as circulation to statutory bodies inviting their comments. It was further proposed that a report on the outcome of the consultation process and on possible changes to the Draft Strategy be brought to the Committee at its meeting to be held on 25 January 2006, with a view to the new policy guidance coming into force thereafter as a material planning consideration.
Mr Gareth Davies, Managing Director of Aquatera, gave a presentation to the Committee on Aquatera’s work on the draft Strategy, explaining:
- the vision for the Strategy, which took account of social, economic and
ecological factors, such as energy poverty, energy efficiency, scenic impacts
and security of supply
the Scottish Executive’s renewable energy targets which had recently been
restated as 3,400 MW of new capacity by 2020 (as an illustration, each
existing turbine at Novar was 1MW), although it was noted that these
targets should not be seen as maximum limits and that Highland was well
placed to meet more than a pro-rata share of the Scottish renewable output
- the factors fed into the RERA database, which included: environmental
sensitivities, available resource and cost and technical limitations for land and
sea areas in or adjacent to the Highlands, covering the range of hydro,
biomass, on- and off-shore wind, wave and tidal technologies
- an indicative zoning map compiled from RERA data, which identified (i) a
small number of areas suitable for large scale onshore developments where
extraction of high quality wind resource would be maximised, (ii) a small
number of areas which were less well suited to large scale wind
developments but within which it might be possible to find suitable sites and
(iii) areas where onshore wind development would be presumed against;
and a similar zoning map also compiled identifying broader areas suitable for
small scale, local/community turbines
- how differing levels of planning constraint would affect achievable output
insofar as stricter regimes would result in low potential output and vice-versa
- the importance of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in evaluating
individual planning applications
- the need to improve current procedures, particularly by (i) inserting an early
scoping stage for developers to obtain guidance from the Planning Authority
prior to carrying out detailed site investigations and (ii) for much-improved
performance monitoring and detailed reporting once developments were in
Dr Davies also spoke briefly to the Planning Guidance document (Booklet B), which covered the particular impact and considerations for each technology. He drew attention to the Council’s limited input to offshore applications, current Planning jurisdiction only commencing at the point where the electricity would be brought onshore for onward transmission.
The Head of Development and Strategy stressed that the RERA and the SEA were incomplete and could not be finalised until after the public consultation period. The formal consultation period would commence on 28 October and views would be sought from individuals, communities, interest groups and other bodies. In view of the complexity of the subject matter, it was suggested that an easy-to-read summary document should be prepared and six public meetings held during November in the Council Areas, possibly conjoining Inverness, Nairn and Badenoch and Strathspey. Given the considerable number of applications for onshore windfarms currently under consideration, it was proposed that a 6-week consultation period be provided in order to enable the Strategy to be finalised and available to assist Members determine these applications as soon as possible.
In discussion however, Members expressed concern that, given the length and complexity of the Strategy and associated documents, the suggested consultation period might be insufficient. Also, in line with the Council’s policy of openness and transparency and in view of the significance of the document to all Members, it was suggested that the Strategy be considered at a special meeting of the full Council, to include a hearings session where interested parties could make presentations prior to Members finalising the content of the Strategy in public, with the new policy guidance coming into force thereafter as a material planning consideration. Concerns were also raised regarding the use of boxes to indicate preferred development areas on maps, as this was less precise. Further comment included: that the Strategy was to be commended, but that it should be borne in mind that the proposals depended on an adequate transmission grid being provided; and that the Crown Estate should be acknowledged in the Strategy as a key stakeholder for offshore wind and tidal schemes. With regard to community benefit, the wording should be amended to clarify that development that had an impact on Highland resources should have clear and sustained benefits for local communities.
The Director of Planning and Development confirmed that the Strategy would be updated in response to changing circumstances, including the development of Scottish Executive guidelines if these were produced.
Thereafter the Committee NOTED: (i) the presentation on the Draft Strategy by Mr Gareth Davies, Managing Director of Aquatera, (ii) the circulated reports, (iii) that the SEA was still in draft form, pending responses from consultees and associated evaluation steps, and (iv) that the Strategy would be revised from time to time in response to changing circumstances; and AGREED that:
(a) the formal consultation period would extend from 28 October 2005 to 13
(b) six public meetings be held in November 2005 to allow discussion in the
Council Areas (Nairn and Badenoch and Strathspey to be conjoined with
(c) following the consultation period, a special meeting of the full Council be
held, in the form of a hearing, with interested parties who had previously
made written responses during the consultation period being allowed to
give presentations, prior to Members finalising in public the content of the
Strategy, with the new policy guidance coming into force thereafter as a
material planning consideration.
9. DTI Grid Connection Charges – Consultation Response
At its meeting held on 17 August 2005, the Committee had considered a report by the Director of Planning and Development advising that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) had published a consultation document setting out how it proposed to implement powers available under s.185 of the Energy Act 2004 to reduce the Transmission Network Use of System (TNUoS) charges levied on renewable energy developers in the North of Scotland and recommending collaboration with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and other Councils in the North of Scotland to investigate and lobby for a fairer and more beneficial arrangement. Having been advised that HIE had agreed to appoint consultants to revisit the analysis upon which the Government decision to exclude Highland from the charge reduction area had been based, the Committee agreed that a detailed consultation response be submitted for consideration at this meeting, the DTI response deadline being 19 October 2005.
There had been circulated Report No. PDET73/05 dated 20 September 2005 by the Director of Planning and Development advising that the consultants appointed by HIE had still to report back on this matter and setting out a number of considerations for inclusion in the Council’s response to the DTI consultation, subject to further adjustment to incorporate suitable findings from ongoing research and discussions with neighbouring authorities.
The Head of Development and Strategy advised that the report from the HIE consultants would be available the following week. Members having expressed the view that the arguments put forward in the report should be more strongly worded and that the Council should take this matter on board as a campaigning issue, the Committee AGREED:
(a) the principles of the outline response to the DTI consultation on adjusting
transmission charges, as set out in the report but with additional emphasis
and stronger wording; and
(b) to remit powers to the Director of Planning and Development, in
consultation with the Chairman, to finalise that response once the
consultants’ assessment was available.
10. Fees to Planning Authorities for Applications Under Sections 36
& 37 of the Electricity Act 1989
At its meeting held on 26 January 2005, the Committee had approved a response to a Scottish Executive consultation on the range of fees associated with applications under sections 36 and 37 of the Electricity Act 1989, for which local Planning Authorities were statutory consultees. In so doing, the Committee welcomed proposals to use part of the fees to compensate Planning Authority costs.
There had been circulated and NOTED Report No. PDET74/05 dated 15 September 2005 by the Director of Planning and Development advising Members that, from 1 July 2005, provision would be made for a proportion of the fees for certain new generation stations and overhead lines to be paid to local authorities in recognition of their role in the consents process.
In this regard, the Committee also NOTED that submission of the planning application for the Beauly-Denny power line was expected the following week. In response to questions raised regarding the specific siting of pylons, the Director confirmed that, should such details be not provided, the Council would lodge an objection to the application at an early date.
11. Highland Forest and Woodland Strategy
There had been circulated Report No. PDET75/05 dated 16 September 2005 by the Director of Planning and Development updating Members on the development of the draft Highland Forest and Woodland Strategy, following a period of public consultation ending in February 2005 and consideration of the comments received by both the Indicative Forestry Strategy (IFS) Technical Group and the Forestry and Deer Working Group. The report invited the Committee to approve the Strategy in its amended form and to agree its publication. Figure 3 of the Appendix to the report would be reproduced in large scale when circulated. The importance of publishing the document in early course was stressed, as this would enable the Council to influence discussion on Locational Premium.
In answer to points raised in discussion, officers advised that:
- wildlife issues, such as the importance of habitat preservation for protected species including red squirrels, had been taken into consideration as Scottish Natural Heritage had been represented on the IFS technical group; biodiversity and the development of biodiversity networks were an important aspect of the Strategy
- the importance of preserving and enhancing scenic views, particularly along tourist routes, was recognised, both in the interests of improving views and on road safety grounds, as ,where views were restricted, drivers could be distracted by trying to catch glimpses of scenery rather than focusing fully on the road; trees bordering Loch Ness were recognised as hindering views and required management; key tourism routes were identified in the Strategy and developers would be alerted accordingly
- the maps were designed to identify opportunities for woodland development and, whilst this approach might not be the best tool to guide community aspirations at a local level, the Policy Map could be used to provide general advice in this regard.
Having heard (i) concerns expressed regarding the increase in exotic species along road sides and (ii) the Chairman of the Forestry and Deer Working Group recommend the Strategy to Members, the Committee APPROVED the Strategy in its amended form and AGREED its publication.
12. Review of the Scottish Forestry Strategy – Consultation
Mr W J Ross declared a non-financial interest in this item as a member of the Forestry Commission Steering Group, but, having applied the test outlined in paragraph 5.18 of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, concluded that his interest did not preclude his involvement in the discussion.
At its meeting held on 9 September 2005, the Forestry and Deer Working Group had agreed a draft response to a Forestry Commission Scotland consultation on the Review of the Scottish Forestry Strategy, for which the consultation deadline had been 16 September 2005.
There had been circulated Report No. PDET76/05 by the Director of Planning and Development dated 14 September 2005 setting out the response submitted, asking the Committee to homologate the action taken and inviting any further comments for late submission.
The Committee HOMOLOGATED the submission of the response to the Forestry Commission Scotland consultation on review of Scottish Forestry Strategy.
13. Draft Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) on Town Centres
There had been circulated Report No. PDET77/05 dated 19 September 2005 by the Director of Planning and Development on a Scottish Executive consultation on the Draft Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) on Town Centres, which set out policy on planning for the development of town centres, with a view to replacing National Planning Policy Guideline (NPPG) 8 - Town Centres and Retailing, and on which comments were sought by 11 November 2005. The Director recommended that his report form the basis of the Council’s response to the Executive.
The Policy and Information Manager explained that the proposed Policy provided a tool to address concerns across the Highlands regarding the decline of Town Centres by reinforcing the sequential approach to the siting of new retail outlets. This meant that applications for retail outlets would be encouraged to locate firstly in town centres, failing which edge-of-centre locations would be looked at. Out-of-town locations would be acceptable only if the former two locations had proved not possible. The Council’s response supported this approach but also advocated continued investment in Town Centres, including street-scaping and promoting Town Centres as places to both live and work.
Points raised in discussion included that:
t- here was a need to retain vibrant Town Centres, with craft and speciality shops encouraged in particular, as this would also support tourism
- development of residential accommodation in Town Centres could also assist in preventing decline; however closer liaison with TEC Services was required in order to resolve their objections to applications where there was no parking provision
much work was already being carried out to support Town Centres, with £6m funding being provided for Inverness City Centre
- retaining businesses in Town Centres was made difficult by factors over which the Council had no control, such as the level of rates, rental charges and poor upkeep of buildings by owners; it was suggested that maintenance of Town Centre buildings could be an area where the Scottish Executive could act to make owners take responsibility for their buildings
- it was difficult to attract retailers into Town Centres
- access for disabled people could be difficult in pedestrianised Centres; schemes such as short stay (half hour) parking should be investigated to address this, in addition to the support offered by Shopmobility
- there was a massive demand for out-of-town shopping; there had been a culture change in the way people shopped and it was unrealistic to try to revert to Town Centres as the main shopping centre, not least because of the parking provision that would be required, but also because locating multinationals in Town Centres would result in a lack of variety of shops and a uniformity of appearance; the clock could not be turned back and other ways of revitalising Town Centres had to be found
- car-sharing schemes should be investigated as a means to reduce traffic; people needed access to a car but did not need to own one
- the Guidelines had been produced as a reaction to criticisms raised in other parts of Scotland and did not take a balanced and realistic view of the need for both sustaining Town Centres and the provision of out-of-town shopping; the circulated report should be revisited to more evenly reflect this position.
The Policy and Information Manager accepted the points made with regard to the need for there to be both support for Town Centres and provision of out of town shopping. The Guidance showed what could be done to support small towns, but it had to be accepted that there had been a culture shift in the way people shopped which would be difficult to reverse.
Thereafter the Committee AGREED that:
(a) the report be revised to reflect the need for both out-of-town shopping
provision and for measures to sustain town centres; and
(b) the revised report be emailed to Members for final comment prior to
submission to the Scottish Executive.
14. Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessments
There had been circulated Report No. PDET78/05 dated 15 September 2005 by the Director of Planning and Development seeking homologation of the Council’s response to a recent Scottish Executive consultation on Public Participation in Environmental Impact Assessment, on which comments had been sought by 5 August 2005 but for which the Council had been granted a short extension.
The Committee HOMOLOGATED the submission of the response to the Scottish Executive.
15. Historic Environment Regeneration Fund
At its meeting held on 25 May 2005, the Committee had welcomed proposals by Historic Scotland to develop a new Programme of Historic Environment Grants and had agreed to seek to increase the profile of building conservation and enhancement in the Highlands by accessing the monies now available.
There had been circulated Report No. PDET79/05 dated 14 September 2005 by the Director of Planning and Development summarising Historic Scotland’s Historic Environment Regeneration Fund and making recommendations as to Conservation Area projects for which the Council could apply for funding from Historic Scotland.
In speaking to the report, the Economy and Europe Manager advised that, of the Council’s 29 Conservation Areas, Wick Pulteneytown best met the criteria on the basis of which Historic Scotland would award funding. However, in the course of preliminary discussions, Historic Scotland had indicated that they would also be interested in alternative ideas, such as the current proposals for Portree Conservation Area.
Having been advised that an explanation as to why there were no Conservation Areas in Lochaber would be provided to Councillor Mrs O Macdonald, the Committee AGREED that:
(a) an outline application for Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme funding
be prepared for the Wick Pulteneytown Conservation Area and submitted
to Historic Scotland; and
(b) the Director of Planning and Development open discussions with Historic
Scotland to determine whether funding could be secured to assist with
the conservation and enhancement of the Portree Conservation Area.
16. Sites and Monuments Records (SMR) Concordat
There had been circulated and NOTED Report No. PDET80/05 by the Director of Planning and Development advising the Committee of the adoption of the Statement of Co-operation between the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland and Scottish Sites and Monuments Records, maintained by local authorities and Trusts, and of the forthcoming formal launch of the Statement on 7 November 2005.
The meeting ended at 2.40 p.m., having adjourned between 1.00 and 1.45 p.m.