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Council and Commission streamline planning applications (21/02/11)
The Highland Council and the Crofters Commission have today (Monday) started a 6 month pilot project to streamline the processes of obtaining planning permission and decrofting of land for a new house on croft land. The aim is to help retain the better quality croft land and avoid conflicting decisions where planning permission for houses are granted, but decrofting refused.
Drew Ratter, Convener of the Commission, said : "This is a major step forward to help preserve the better quality croft land. Legislation means folk will still have to submit a decrofting application to the Commission but this can be done at the same time as they lodge their planning application. This will save time as the majority of the information required will be captured at the planning consultation stage. I am looking forward to seeing the results in September and hope it can then be rolled out across all local authorities in the crofting areas."
Councillor Ian Ross , Chair man of The Highland Council's Planning Environment and Development Committee , said "The Council recognises that crofting is a core component of life in the Highlands, beneficial not only to crofting communities but also the wider population and environment. With this pilot the Council will be able to more fully consider the crofting impact of a development proposal by including an assessment of the quality of the land for crofting and whether there are any options for relocation of the preferred sites where that might help to preserve the integrity or viability of the croft as a small agricultural holding."
The Pilot will cover an area from Assynt in the North to Glenorchy in the South, and also take in the Isle of Skye and the Small Isles. People submitting planning applications for a new house on croft land will be asked to complete and submit a crofting questionnaire along with their planning application to assist the process.
Further information will be available on the Highland Council and Crofters Commission websites.
Crofters Commission – www.crofterscommission.org.uk/documents.asp
The Highland Council - /yourenvironment/planning/planningapplications