Minute of Meeting of the Sutherland County Committee held in Brora Community Centre, Brora on Monday 14 August 2006 at 10.30am.


 
Present:

 

Councillor F R M Keith (Chairman)

Councillor D Allan

Councillor R Finlayson

Councillor A Mackay

Councillor A Magee

Councillor I Ross


 
In Attendance:

 

G McLaughlin, Area Manager

A Todd, Area Planning and Building Control Manager 

C Stewart, Area Roads and Community Works Manager

R McFadyen, Area Finance Manager

L O’Neill, Area Administrator

B Robertson Senior Planner

A Macrae, Administrator


 
1.1 Erection of new dwelling house.  Improvement/upgrade of existing access, installation of sewage treatment plant and mounded infiltration system at Plot 1, Adjacent to Rosebank, Culrain for Mr G and Mrs M Milne (05/00134/OUTSU)

 

The Chairman reported that the application would be determined in accordance with the Hearings procedure and confirmed that all parties had received a copy.

 

There had been circulated Report No. SU/129/06 by the Area Planning & Building Standards Manager recommending that application 05/00134/OUTSU for the erection of a new dwelling house, the improvement/upgrade of the existing access, the installation of a sewage treatment plant and mounded infiltration system at Plot 1, adjacent to Rosebank, Culrain for Mr G & Mrs M Milne be approved subject to conditions.

 

The Chairman invited the Manager to present the report.

 

The Manager outlined the planning policies relevant to the application, particularly Policy H3 Housing in the Countryside, Policy G2 Design for Sustainability, and NPPG5 Archaeology and Planning, and NPPG18, Planning and Historic Environment.  He stated that the objections received related to the fact that the plot lies within the site of the Battle of Carbisdale fought in 1650, and therefore is an important historical site and should be protected.  He advised that an archaeological evaluation of the site had been undertaken and no artefacts found.  Other objections related to issues concerning the foul drainage, and surface water, and concerns about the condition of the public road in this location.  Finally he indicated that he had received correspondence outwith the appropriate period including a petition containing 28 signatures in support of the application.

 

Mrs A Magee reported on her misgivings about the condition of the road network in this location.

 

The Chairman invited the applicants to present their case.

 

Mr H Ross, agent for the applicant, explained that the proposal is for one house only, and that the associated drainage will be dealt with by a sewage treatment plant and a bunded soakaway.  Surface water will be dealt with in the form of SUDS drainage.  The design brief for the house will reflect the character of the area and access will be provided in accordance the requirements of TEC Services, accommodating the required length and width needed for access, and the provision of a parking bay.  No existing trees will be affected by the development.

 

The Chairman then invited the objectors to state their objections.

 

Dr W Hopkins advised that he had undertaken a thesis on the Battle of Carbisdale, and from his research the site had been placed as the location of the final stage of the Battle, with the opposing forces colliding on this site, and displayed an ordnance survey map on which this had been is recorded.  He opined that the site should be treated as sacred ground, and benefit from a monument or be left untouched.

 

Mrs K Alexander expressed concern that the drains in the area run at capacity and are overloaded in situations of exceptional rainfall, noting that the percolation tests for the development were unsuccessful.  The development will therefore, in her view, increase the volume of surface water and the risk of flooding.  Mrs Alexander cautioned that effluent from the proposed sewage treatment plant will infiltrate the land drains close to her property, and related her concerns over the potential for the system to fail.

 

Mr P Wright stated that trees will have to be removed to provide the parking bay, larger lorries will be unable to turn in this location, there is a blind corner on the road near to the access point, and alleged part of the road had collapsed. He reiterated the concerns expressed regarding drainage.  Furthermore the type of mounded infiltration system proposed has not been tested over time.  He stated that the percolation holes will fill up, saturating the hillside, and thus creating the potential for a landslide.  The soakaway will have to be enormous to cope with average rainfall, and may require blasting, not an ideal situation given the proximity of the neighbouring farm.   Finally he expressed a lack of confidence in SEPA’s approval of the proposal.

 

Mr D Alexander summed up the main issues raised by the objectors and queried the Council’s policy in relation to minimum separation between houses in the countryside, which he believed to be 250m. However he advised that the distance in respect of this development is only 80m.  Concluding he asked that the application be refused, noting that it is a speculative development, the applicant owning other properties, and given the historical importance of the site.

 

Mrs R Finlayson queried the acreage of the battle site. Dr Hopkins advised that he was unsure of the extent of the battle area, but that in his opinion the climax of the battle took place on the application site. 

 

The Chairman questioned whether it is surprising no artefacts had been found during the archaeological investigation of the site.  Dr Hopkins advised that this was in common with other battle sites.  The Chairman also queried the number of vehicle movements on this part of the road.  Mr P Wright estimated this at 20/30, advising that the road is narrow with no verges or passing places.

 

Responding to the objectors, Mr H Ross advised that the trees are in the ownership of the applicant and that while one or two may be removed they will be replaced. The provision of a parking bay will improve the road, and the drainage and treatment systems will be designed by professional consultants and will be in line with the relevant guidelines.

 

The Chairman queried the arrangements for construction vehicles.  The Applicant, Mr G Milne, indicated that the development is only for one house and so the level of traffic will be limited.  The formation of the lay-by is planned as phase one of the project which will assist with construction, clarifying that the part of the road which is damaged lies further up the hill.  Turning to the points raised by the objectors concerning the Battle of Carbisdale, Mr Milne indicated that the Battle had been recorded as being spread over a wide area and fought on level ground rather than the hillside.

 

Mr I Ross queried the effectiveness of the treatment plant and mounded infiltration system.  The Manager advised that the system is reliant on regular maintenance and a number had been previously approved in Sutherland and elsewhere in the Highlands.  Mr I Ross also referred to Scottish Water’s response intimating that a connection could not be made to the water supply at the present time.  Mrs A Magee reported on proposals by Scottish Water to upgrade the system in the Bonar Bridge area, but cautioned that whether this will increase the volume of raw water remains to be assessed.

 

In accordance with procedure, the Chairman declared the Hearing at an end and sought confirmation from the objectors and applicants that (i) there were no further parties wishing to speak and (ii) they were satisfied with the way the Hearing had been conducted. 

 

With the permission of the Chairman Mr H Rook spoke in support of the application.

 

All parties then confirmed they were satisfied with with the way the Hearing had been conducted. 

 

The Manager summarised the application and made the following points;

  • The scientific evidence provided by the Archaeological Unit and Historic Scotland did not support evoking the precautionary principle, as detailed in Policy G8 of the Structure Plan, in this case
  • The re-positioning of the access to that originally proposed is an improvement, and is acceptable to TEC Services
  • The drainage arrangements comply with the relevant technical standards
  • He did not consider the development will result in a loss of amenity
  • There is no policy in relation to separation distances between houses in this area  

 

The Manager concluded that in his view the application did not constitute a departure from the development plan and recommended approval subject to conditions.

 

Mrs A Magee expressed her reservations about the condition of the road in this area and at the proposal to construct a new lay-by on a surface that is in poor condition.  She referred to the poor site lines, lack of passing places and her concerns about heavy construction traffic using this road, and expressed surprise that TEC Services is content with the proposal, given the safety issues involved.  She suggested that Members should have the opportunity to view the road by deferring the application to allow for a site visit.

 

The Chairman indicated he remained to be convinced about how the road will cope with construction traffic and service vehicles.

 

The Area Roads and Community Works Manager advised that the U541 up to the proposed access is not in need of reconstruction, and that the road will be improved by provision of a new access and lay-by.  The road is inspected quarterly and to ensure it does not deteriorate to an unacceptable standard.   While the Council’s service vehicles experience difficulties on the road this is no different to other U class roads.

 

The Committee AGREED to defer the application pending a site visit, the arrangements to be confirmed in due course.


 
1.2 A)Formation of borrow pit to provide aggregates for the construction of Kilbraur wind farm  at Kilbraur North Borrow Pit, Dunrobin Glen Backies Golspie for Strath Brora Wind Energy Ltd (06/00182/FULSU) B) Formation of borrow pit to provide aggregates for the construction of Kilbraur wind farm at Kilbraur South Site At Ben Bhraggie Woods, Golspie for Strath Brora Wind Energy Ltd (06/00196/FULSU)

 

The Chairman reported that the applications would be determined in accordance with the Hearings procedure and confirmed that all parties had received a copy.  He also confirmed that both the applicants and objectors had agreed that the two applications be determined jointly.

 

There had been circulated Reports Nos. SU/130/06 and SU/131/06  by the Area Planning & Building Standards Manager concerning applications a) 06/00182/FULSU for the formation of a borrow pit to provide aggregates for the construction of Kilbraur wind farm  at Kilbraur North Borrow Pit, Dunrobin Glen Backies Golspie for Strath Brora Wind Energy Ltd, and b) 06/00196/FULSU for the Formation of a borrow pit to provide aggregates for the construction of Kilbraur wind farm at Kilbraur South Site at Ben Bhraggie Woods, Golspie for Strath Brora Wind Energy Ltd, and recommending that subject to the prior conclusion of a Section 75 Agreement to secure the lodging of a financial bond to ensure ultimate restoration of the sites, and to the applicants entering into a Section 96 (Wear and Tear) Agreement to cover the costs of any damage to the local road network, planning permission be granted for each site for a temporary period of one year subject to the conditions contained in the report.

 

The Chairman invited the Manager to present the report.

 

The Manager introduced the applications, advising that the developer requires up to 150,000 tonnes of rock to construct the access to the windfarm and for other on-site works.  The applicant had now submitted an application for an on-site borrow pit, but had asked for these applications to be determined to provide flexibility during construction.  He noted there are no technical objections to the application, and outlined the main relevant policies i.e. Policy G2 Design for Sustainability, Policy M2 Mineral Extraction and NPPG4 Land for Mineral Working and NPPG6 Renewable Energy Developments.

 

The Chairman invited the applicants to present their case.

 

Mr S Green, West Coast Energy Ltd advised that the quarries would result in lorry movements being taken off the main road. The larger borrow pit to the north is in the vicinity of recent commercial forestry activity and visibility is limited. The development to the South is surrounded by commercial forestry activity, and visibility will be minimal.  Some mature trees ready for harvesting will be felled.  There is an existing quarry in Ben Bhraggie woods, and this operates satisfactorily alongside other activities in the area.   The intention is to proceed with the on-site borrow pit, but he explained that having three borrow pits will provide flexibility, given the length of the access to the site, and will avoid heavy traffic on the trunk road.

 

Referring to the objections received, Mr Green clarified that the requirement for borrow pits had been contained in the environmental study carried out in respect of the windfarm development.  The contractor will be required to prepare a construction method statement for the works.  There is minimal peat cover on both sites and issues raised such as land slips will be addressed as part of the construction method statement.  The subject of surface water will be agreed between the contractor and SEPA, and while there should be no need for water abstraction, if required this would also be agreed with SEPA.  Crofting issues do not apply since the sites are not on crofting land, and with respect to the impact on birds there will be no construction activity in the bird breeding season.

 

The Chairman queried the level of blasting required.  Mr Green stated that this would not be known until such time as the sites are excavated but anticipated it would be minimal and that the local community council and other interested parties would be notified in advance any such activity via a liaison group, which had been identified.

 

Mr I Ross observed that the Southern borrow pit is close to the new mountain bike track and referred to the need to establish dynamic communication to take account of planned events. He also confirmed that there would be no vehicle movements through Golspie.

 

The Chairman then invited the Objectors to state their objections.

 

Mr A Tubbs, on behalf of the Rogart Environmental Group, read from a prepared statement raising a number of points as follows;

  • While the applicant had advised the Group requires all issues to be resolved prior to consent being given, these only pertain to the elements covered by the Environmental Impact Assessment (Scotland) Regulations 1999 which implements the relevant European Directive, requiring that all information is available at the time of public consultation
  • Planning permission should be subject to the submission and approval by the Planning Authority, in consultation with SEPA, of a full method statement addressing such matters as pollution risks, effect on watercourses, items relating to surface water and where relevant groundwater, as set out in Planning Advice Note 50: Controlling the Environmental Effects of Surface Mineral Water.  Details of proposals for monitoring, emergency and contingency plans should also be included, in addition to the storage of peat, protection of private water supplies, surface water management, and waste streams. Clarification of dust control measures should also be provided.
  • The information to be included in the method statement has not been made available for public scrutiny at the time of public consultation
  • The water distribution pattern and changes to geological stability is not adequately addressed in the Environmental Statement.
  • Questioning whether three borrow pits are required for the development
  • The photo-montages provided do not provide an adequate representation of the visual impact of the development
  •  No assurance has been given that there will be no traffic movements through Golspie
  • Raising the possibility that the developers acting in concert with others will ease the access into other parts of the wild land.

 

Concluding Mr Tubbs requested that the application be deferred until all relevant information is made available for public consultation. 

 

Responding Mr Green stated that many of the issues raised will be covered by the construction method statement, SEPA’s requirements and through the conditions attached to planning permission. In terms of siting the developer had sought to minimise the visual impact of the borrow pits as much as possible, and should the on-site borrow pit be approved these sites could be smaller or rendered redundant.  Dust control measures will be agreed with SEPA, and following consultation it had been confirmed no private water supplies will be affected.

 

Mr I Ross sought clarification on SEPA’s responsibility for monitoring and supervision the development and whether the Council has a role.  The Manager confirmed that planning conditions will cover such items as dust and noise, and that the ultimately the Council is the controlling authority, consulting the other regulatory authorities such a SEPA.  Mr Ross also asked whether the level of detail provided is similar to pervious applications.  The Manager advised that was not able to comment on this matter.

 

In accordance with procedure, the Chairman declared the Hearing at an end and sought confirmation from the objectors and applicants that (i) there were no further parties wishing to speak and (ii) they were satisfied with the way the Hearing had been conducted.  Such confirmation was given.

 

The Manager in summary, confirmed that re-instatement of both sites is included as a condition of permission, both sites are supported by an environmental statement, the visual impact of both is limited, and that a construction method statement will have to be submitted for SEPA’s approval. . He referred to the benefits in terms of traffic movements and the environment of having the material close to the construction site.  Details of traffic movements will be discussed with TEC Services to protect the integrity of the Dunrobin Glen road.   He therefore recommended approval of the application subject to it being a condition of permission that restoration bonds are secured for the re-instatement of the sites and the local road network, and to Condition 6 being amended to include the full terms of SEPA’s letter, part of which had been omitted in error.

 

Mr I Ross advised that he supported the principle of the borrow pits, and referred to the importance of the on-site application and the bearing it may have on use of these sites, and on traffic movements.  He expressed concern at the impact on the long term maintenance and condition of the road and that would be seeking for the developer to contribute to improvements such as bridge strengthening.    He would have preferred to have more detail in terms of the proposed construction method and other aspects of the development and asked that this be made available to Members before work commences.  Mr Ross emphasised the importance of protecting amenity access in this area for such activities as mountain biking and the need for effective communication in this regard.  Finally he stressed that in terms of monitoring and supervision, robust and effective links be established between SEPA and the Council.

 

The Chairman indicated that he shared the objectors concerns regarding the visual impact of the northern borrow pit, and that he would prefer to have its size reduced if the on-site pit is approved, and that this be addressed when the on-site application comes before the Committee.  He welcomed the formation of a liaison group comprising relevant interests including the local community council, and the developer and queried whether this could be included as a condition of permission.  The Manager confirmed that the liaison group had been established as part of the windfarm application.

 

Mrs R Finlayson expressed concern at impact of the developments on the Dunrobin Glen, and outlined her specific concerns relating to the restoration of the sites.  However she was reassured by the fact there will be would be no traffic movement through Golspie, and welcomed any proposal to reduce traffic on the access road.

 

Following further discussion the Committee APPROVED the planning permission granted for each site for a temporary period of one year subject to the prior conclusion of a Section 75 Agreement to secure the lodging of a financial bond to ensure ultimate restoration of the sites, and to the applicants entering into a Section 96 (Wear and Tear) Agreement to cover the costs of any damage to the local road network, and to the conditions contained in the report on the basis that Condition 6 be amended to include the full terms of SEPA’s letter, and to additional conditions covering the protection of amenity and recreational access in the area through effective communication and planning, and to a further report for Members information on the detail of the construction method statement and proposals for restoration.


 
1.3 Erection of greenhouse at ‘Easdale’, Carnaig Street, Dornoch for Mr & Mrs B Helal (06/00178/FULSU)

 

There had been circulated Report No. SU/143/06 by the Area Planning & Building Standards Manager recommending that application 06/00178/FULSU for the erection of a greenhouse at ‘Easdale’, Carnaig Street, Dornoch for Mr and Mrs B Helal be approved subject to conditions.

 

Mr D Allan observed that the applicant had made no attempt to compromise in relation to the visual amenity of the neighbours.  He indicated that he would be satisfied with the development if the applicant removed the leylandii hedge on the condition that it is not replaced.

 

Discussion followed on the competency of attaching a condition to permission that he hedge be removed and be not replaced, taking into account that planning permission is not required for this type of hedge.

 

The Committee AGREED to defer consideration of the application to allow further discussions with the applicant with a view to achieving a compromise solution.


 
1.4 1) Re-opening of extinct access to south of existing park, 2)    Removal of planning condition no.4 attaching to permission 02/00085/FULSU to allow for separate occupation of dwelling (06/00147/FULSU), 3) Removal of planning condition No.3 attaching to planning permission 02/00085/FULSU to allow for full time occupancy of chalet (06/00148/FULSU) at Heatherwood Park Chalets, Dornoch for Linda Kay (05/00092/FULSU)

 

There had been circulated Report No. SU/132/06 by the Area Planning & Building Standards Manager recommending that application 05/00092/FULSU for 1) The re-opening of an extinct access to the south of the existing park, 2) The removal of planning condition no.4 attaching to permission 02/00085/FULSU to allow for separate occupation of a dwelling (06/00147/FULSU) and 3) The removal of planning condition No.3 attaching to planning permission 02/00085/FULSU to allow for full time occupancy of a chalet (06/00148/FULSU) at Heatherwood Park Chalets, Dornoch for Linda Kay be refused for the reasons stated in the report.

 

The Committee AGREED to refuse the application for the reasons stated in the report.


 
1.5 Erection of house (In Outline) at Burnside, Carrieblair, Edderton for Brian Small (05/00294/OUTSU)

 

There had been circulated Report No. SU/133/06 by the Area Planning & Building Standards Manager recommending that application 05/00294/OUTSU for the erection of a house (In Outline) at Burnside, Carrieblair, Edderton for Brian Small be refused for the reasons stated.

 

The Manager advised that the applicant had asked for the application to be deferred.

 

The Committee AGREED to defer the application meantime.


 
1.6 Erection of dwelling house at Plot at Manse Road, Edderton for Ross A S Sutherland(05/00319/FULSU)

 

There had been circulated Report No. SU/134/06 by the Area Planning & Building Standards Manager recommending that application 05/00319/FULSU for the erection of a dwelling house on a Plot at Manse Road, Edderton for Ross A S Sutherland be approved subject to the conditions contained in the report.

 

The Committee APPROVED the application subject to the conditions contained in the report.
 

1.7 Alterations to existing dwelling at Fourpenny Hollow, Skelbo, Dornoch for Ms W Paige and Mr J Muir (05/00380/FULSU)

 

There had been circulated Report No. SU/135/06 by the Area Planning & Building Standards Manager recommending that application 05/00380/FULSU for alterations to the existing dwelling at Fourpenny Hollow, Skelbo, Dornoch for Ms W Paige & Mr J Muir be refused for the reasons stated in the report.

 

The Committee AGREED to refuse the application for the reasons stated in the report.


 
1.8 Erection of 43 No. residential units with associated roadworks, infrastructure and landscaping, as amended, at Site of Old Hunters of Brora Wool Mill, Brora for Tulloch Homes Express Ltd (05/00383/FULSU)

 

There had been circulated Report No. SU/136/06 by the Area Planning & Building Standards Manager recommending that application 05/00383/FULSU for the erection of 43 No. residential units with associated roadworks, infrastructure and landscaping, as amended, at the site of Old Hunters of Brora Wool Mill, Brora for Tulloch Homes Express Ltd be approved subject to the conditions contained in the report.

 

Mrs R Finlayson expressed concern that the proposed play area is located away from the houses and on the wrong side of the road.  She stated that the introduction of a one-way system off the A9 at Railway Terrace will cause considerable inconvenience to local residents, and suggested that the height of the existing wall which reduces visibility at the junction be reduced.  Furthermore the fact that through traffic will be travelling though the scheme is not an ideal situation, and there is a need to ensure the road benefits from adequate street lighting. She outlined her concerns regarding the affordable housing element of the development, and queried the need for sheltered housing, advising that there is limited demand within the village.  Additionally she stated that the design of that part of the development opposite the old traditional house ‘Aldersyde is not sympathetic to the original property.

 

Mr I Ross indicated effective measures such as traffic calming and specifically the concept of shared space, blending the road, pavement etc, called ‘Homezones’ be explored further.  He also queried who will be responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the play area. 

 

Mr D Allan expressed the view that roads should be designed to reduce the speed of traffic, rather than having to introduce traffic calming measures after construction.

 

The Area Roads & Community Works Manager advised that traffic calming measures as stated could be addressed as part of the Road Construction Consent, and that he would also investigate the issue of street lighting.  He also opined that the proposed one-way system will bring significant improvements in road safety. Referring to the play area the Manager indicated that the developer will be asked to make a payment for the ongoing maintenance.

 

The Area Manager confirmed that the Council’s policy sets the level of affordable housing at 25%, this having been applied in respect of other developments and therefore the Council must be consistent in respect of this development.

 

The Committee APPROVED the application subject to the conditions contained in the report, and that the issues raised by Members in relation to traffic calming are further investigated as part of the Road Construction Consent.


 
1.9 Erection of dwelling house and garage.  Installation of septic tank and soakaway system.  Installation of a borehole. Formation of access road to Bonar Bridge/Spinningdale public road (As Amended) at Plot 1 Chronie Brae, Migdale, Bonar Bridge for Mr & Mrs A Cowie (05/00456/OUTSU)

 

There had been circulated Report No. SU/137/06 by the Area Planning & Building Standards Manager recommending that application 05/00456/OUTSU for the erection of a dwelling house and garage, installation of a septic tank and soakaway system, installation of a borehole, formation of an access road to Bonar Bridge/Spinningdale public road, as amended, at Plot 1 Chronie Brae, Migdale, Bonar Bridge for Mr & Mrs A Cowie be approved subject to the conditions contained in the report.

 

Mrs A Magee advised that should there be any further proposed development in Migdale an overview of the area may be required.  The Manager suggested that this could be addressed as part of the Local Plan review process.  Mr D Allan stated that the Spinningdale area should also be incorporated into any such review.

 

The Committee APPROVED the application subject to the conditions contained in the report.


 
1.10 Erection of 1.5 storey dwelling, improvement/upgrade of existing access, installation of sewage treatment system with infiltration mound disposal at Plot 1, Adjacent to Kylesku Chalet Park, Kylesku for Mr P Ingenschay (06/00018/OUTSU)

 

There had been circulated Report No. SU/138/06 by the Area Planning & Building Standards Manager recommending that application 06/00018/OUTSU for the Erection of a 1.5 storey dwelling, the improvement/upgrade of the existing access, the installation of a sewage treatment system with an infiltration mound disposal at Plot 1, adjacent to Kylesku Chalet Park, Kylesku for Mr P Ingenschay be refused for the reasons stated in the report.

 

The Committee AGREED to refuse the application for the reasons stated in the report.

 

1.11 Erection of dwelling house.  Installation of septic tank and soakaway system.  Formation of new access onto Ardmore public loop road at Plot 1, No.8 Ardmore, Edderton for Mr and Mrs B Simpson (06/00108/OUTSU)

 

There had been circulated Report No. SU/139/06 by the Area Planning & Building Standards Manager recommending that application 06/00108/OUTSU for the erection of a dwelling house, the installation of a septic tank and soakaway system and the formation of a new access onto Ardmore public loop road at Plot 1, No.8 Ardmore, Edderton for Mr & Mrs B Simpson be approved subject to the conditions contained in the report.

 

Further to the report the Manager suggested that Condition No. 7 detailed in the report be amended so that access be taken from the north east of the site to achieve the necessary visibility splays, and that a further condition be inserted protecting the trees on the site.

 

The Committee APPROVED the application subject to the conditions contained in the report, with Condition No. 7 being amended to provide for access being taken from the north east of the site to allow the necessary visibility splays to be achieved, and to an additional condition protecting the trees on the site.

 

1.12 Erection of galvanised steel flue from kitchen canopy ducted through store roof at J Fraser and Son, Main Street, Golspie for Mr M Ali (06/00128/FULSU)

 

There had been circulated Report No. SU/140/06 by the Area Planning & Building Standards Manager recommending that application 06/00128/FULSU for the erection of a galvanised steel flue from the kitchen canopy ducted through a store roof at J Fraser & Son, Main Street, Golspie for Mr M Ali be refused planning permission for the reasons stated in the report and that Listed Building Consent be approved subject to the conditions contained in the report.

 

Mr I Ross expressed his wish that this matter be resolved as soon as possible to allow the development to proceed.

 

The Committee REFUSED planning permission for the reasons stated in the report and APPROVED Listed Building Consent subject to the conditions contained in the report.


 
1.13 Erection of garden building (In retrospect) at 19C Balnakeil Craft Village, Durness for I Wallace (06/00155/FULSU)

 

There had been circulated Report No. SU/141/06 by the Area Planning & Building Standards Manager recommending that retrospective application 06/00155/FULSU for the erection of a garden building at 19C Balnakeil Craft Village, Durness for I Wallace be approved subject to the conditions contained in the report.

 

The Committee APPROVED the application subject to the conditions contained in the report.


 
1.14 Erection of dwelling and garage.  Formation of new access onto Dornoch / Embo public road  at House Plot 1 Adjacent to Herkhenys, Hilton for A Sutherland and K G Ross (06/00160/FULSU)

 

There had been circulated Report No. SU/142/06 by the Area Planning & Building Standards Manager recommending that application 06/00160/FULSU for the erection of a dwelling and garage and formation of a new access onto Dornoch / Embo public road at House Plot 1 Adjacent To Herkhenys, Hilton for A Sutherland and K G Ross be approved subject to the conditions contained in the report.

 

The Committee APPROVED the application subject to the conditions contained in the report.


 
1.15 Erection of 4 x 1.75 storey dwelling houses with private access road at Church Hill Road, Lairg for Allan Mackay (06/00181/FULSU)

 

There had been circulated Report No. SU/144/06 by the Area Planning & Building Standards Manager recommending that application 06/00181/FULSU for the erection of 4 x 1.75 storey dwelling houses with private access road at Church Hill Road, Lairg for Allan Mackay be approved subject to the conditions contained in the report.

 

Mrs A Magee welcomed the development but noted that the adjacent houses are all detached and such she was not convinced that the proposal is in keeping with the neighbouring area.  Furthermore she suggested that four properties represented an overdevelopment of the site, and that this was exacerbated by the fact there is two further house plots in the vicinity, and suggested that further discussions be held with the applicant regarding the density of the development.  Mrs Magee also sought information on the height of the proposed retaining wall.

 

The Committee AGREED to defer consideration of the application to allow further discussions with the applicant on the density of the development, and to establish the height of the proposed retaining wall.


 
1.16 Change of use of existing tearoom to form dwelling house at Lowry Tearooms, 1 Bridge Street, Dornoch for Mrs V A Walker (06/00183/FULSU)

 

There had been circulated Report No. SU/145/06 by the Area Planning & Building Standards Manager recommending that application 06/00183/FULSU for change of use of the existing tearoom to form a dwelling house at Lowry Tearooms, 1 Bridge Street, Dornoch for Mrs V A Walker be approved subject to the conditions contained in the report.

 

The Committee APPROVED the application subject to the conditions contained in the report.


 
2. Erection of house, in outline, at Tigh-na-Bruiach, Ardgay Hill, Ardgay for R J McAdam and J A White (05/00293/OUTSU)

 

There had been circulated letter dated 26 July 2006 from the Reporter, Scottish Executive, dismissing the appeal by R J McAdam and J A White for the erection of a house, in outline, at Tigh-na-Bruiach, Ardgay.  It was recommended that Members note the decision.

 

The Committee AGREED to note the outcome of the Appeal.

 

Chairman’s Items


 

3. Minute of Special Meeting of 26 June 2006

 

The Minute of Special Meeting of 26 June 2006 was approved.

 

4. Minute of Meeting of 26 June 2006

 

The Minute of Meeting of 26 June 2006 was approved.


 
5. Minute of Special Meeting of 27 June 2006

 

The Minute of Special Meeting of 27 June 2006 was approved.


 
6. Application for Gaming Permit for 20 Machines in the Arcade at Grannies Heilan Hame, Embo all in terms of Sections 32 and 34 of the Gaming Act 1968.

 

There had been circulated Report No. SU/145/06 by the Area Administrator seeking consent for 20 gaming machines, comprising pushers and cranes, at Grannies Heilan Hame, Embo on the basis that there has been a new employee substituted as the person responsible for the day to day running of the premises.  The report recommended that Members exercise their discretion under the Gaming Act 1968 to approve 20 machines with the new responsible employee. 

 

The Committee APPROVED the application for a Gaming Permit for 20 gaming machines, under the new responsible employee in terms of Sections 32 and 34 of the Gaming Act 1968.


7. Dornoch Common Good Land

Lease of Land at Well Street, Dornoch


There had been circulated Report No. SU/146/06 by the Area Manager detailing a request by a local resident to lease an area of Common Good Land at Well Street, Dornoch for the purpose of rebuilding a garage.  The report recommended that Members agree to the lease of an area of land as detailed in the plan annexed to the report, the terms and conditions of the lease to be set by Property & Architectural Services.

 

The Committee APPROVED the recommendation.

 

Resources


 
Note: Mr A Mackay, Portfolio Holder for Resources, the Chairman took the Chair.


 
8. Capital Discretionary Fund 2006/07 – Progress

 

There had been circulated Report No SU/147/06 by the Area Manager advising on progress with bids from the Sutherland Area awarded under the Capital Discretionary Fund 2006/07.  The report recommended that Members note progress provided in the quarterly update.

 

The Committee AGREED to continue to monitor progress through the report.


 
9. Dornoch Common Good Fund

Contribution to Dornoch Highland Gathering

 

There had been circulated Report No SU/148/06 by the Area Manager seeking approval to make the sum of £2,000 available from the Dornoch Common Good Fund, to the Dornoch Highland Gathering towards the purchase of a new marquee which complies with current fire regulations.  The report recommended that Members approve a contribution of £2,000.

 

The Committee APPROVED a contribution of £2,000 from the Dornoch Common Good Fund.


 
10. Chief Executive’s Service Financial Monitoring Report            

 

There had been circulated Report No SU/149/06 by the Area Manager appending financial monitoring report for the Chief Executive’s Service for the period 1 April 2006 – 31 May 2006.  The report recommended that Members continue to monitor the budget through the report.

 

The Committee AGREED to continue to monitor the budget through the report.


 
11. Housing Revenue Account Financial Monitoring Report            

 

There had been circulated Report No SU/150/06 by the Area Manager appending financial monitoring report for the Housing Revenue Account for the period 1 April 2006 – 31 May 2006.  The report recommended that Members continue to monitor the budget through the report.

 

The Committee AGREED to continue to monitor the budget through the report.


 
12. Transport, Environmental and Community Services Financial Monitoring Report

 

There had been circulated Report No SU/151/06 by the Area Roads & Community Works Manager appending financial monitoring report for Transport, Environmental & Community Services for the period 1 April 2006 – 30 June 2006.  The report recommended that Members continue to monitor the budget through the report.

 

Responding to Mrs A Magee, the Manager confirmed he would provide information on the savings achieved through the implementation of the Jobcard system.

 

The Committee AGREED to continue to monitor the budget through the report, and that the Manager provides an update on savings achieved as a result of the implementation of the Jobcard system.


 
13. Dornoch Business Park – Car Parking

 

There had been circulated Report No SU/155/06 by Area Manager advising of an approach from JA Property Development Ltd to purchase a site at Dornoch Business Park for the purpose of car parking arising from the recent granting of planning permission for the redevelopment of the former Dornoch Filling Station site. The report noted that Property & Architectural Services had been asked to provide a valuation for a site providing space for fifteen vehicles, on the basis that the works will be carried out by the developer. The report recommended that Members agree to the sale of one site for car parking on the basis outlined in the report, on terms and conditions to be agreed by Property & Architectural Services.

 

The Committee APPROVED the recommendation.


 
Transport, Environmental and Community Services


 
Note: Mr I Ross, Portfolio Holder for the Transport, Environmental & Community Services, took the Chair.


 
14.Service Level Agreements – Performance Monitoring 2005/06

 

There had been circulated Report No SU/152/06 by the Area Roads & Community Works Manager setting out the standards achieved in Sutherland for the activities covered by the Service Level Agreements for the year ended March 2006, and proposed performance targets for 2006/07.  The report recommended that Members note the performance monitoring results for the period April 2005 to March 2006, and approve the performance targets for 2006/07 as set out in the report.

 

Mr I Ross commended the TEC Services staff on the performance achieved over the year in either meeting or exceeding the relevant performance target.

 

The Committee AGREED to note the performance monitoring results for the period April 2005 to March 2006, and approve the performance targets for 2006/07 as set out in the report.


 
15. Service Level Agreements – Performance Monitoring April – June 2006

 

There had been circulated Report No SU/153/06 by the Area Roads and Community Works Manager setting out standards achieved for the activities carried out under the Service Level Agreements during the period April to June 2006.  The report recommended that Members note the results for the first quarter of 2006.

 

The Manager cautioned that the efficiency savings implemented in the current year are reflected in the standards achieved in the first quarter particularly in relation to grounds maintenance.  However he anticipated that performance for the next quarter will improve.

 

Mrs A Magee referred to road safety issues arising from the reduction in frequency of cutting roadside verges as a result of the efficiency savings, particularly in relation to sight lines and junctions, and sought clarification on whether there is flexibility within existing budgets to increase the frequency to keep routes from becoming overgrown.

 

The Manager explained that the sum of £26,000 had been saved by the decision not to hire external contractors to cut verges. However grounds maintenance staff had been utilised wherever possible to cut sight lines and junctions to provide a limited service.

 

The Committee AGREED to note performance for the first quarter of 2006, and that the Manager report back to Members on whether there is flexibility within existing budgets to increase the frequency of roadside verge cutting on the grounds of road safety..

 

Housing and Social Work


 
Note: Mrs R Finlayson, Portfolio Holder for Housing & Social Work, took the Chair.


 
16. Disposal of Land at Munro Place, Bettyhill

 

There had circulated Report No. SU/154/06 by the Area Manager detailing a proposal to dispose of an area land at Munro Place, Bettyhill to Albyn Housing Society Ltd for nil consideration.  The report recommended that Members approve the transfer of land extending to 0.12ha or thereby at Munro Place, Bettyhill, outlined on the map appended to the report, for nil consideration, for the provision of four houses for affordable rent.

 

The Committee APPROVED the recommendation, subject to the approval of the First Minister.