Council seeks public opinion on development planning in Caithness and Sutherland.

 

A major public consultation is now underway to help prepare a new 20 year Local Development Plan for the Caithness and Sutherland area, to be known as CaSPlan.

The Main Issues Report was published on 30 October 2014 and it is the first formal stage of preparing the new CaSPlan. The consultation runs for 13 weeks, closing on 29 January 2015.

The Main Issues Report (MIR) is not a draft plan; it is a report which sets out initial ideas for what a future plan needs to achieve for people and places in the area and where new development might be located. It identifies a range of issues for discussion, one of which is how to manage growth of settlements. The MIR suggests that new development be encouraged around existing settlements to reduce the need to travel, support community facilities and services and minimise environmental impacts.

David Cowie of the Council’s Development Plans Team explains: “The Main Issues Report sets out site options for discussion in settlements where there is the most pressure for development.  For settlements where there is less development pressure, the Council is suggesting that instead of boundaries for settlements and sites, planning applications would be guided by a more general approach and “Placemaking Priorities” for each settlement. For the smallest settlements though we think we should apply our existing policy approaches that we use to guide development in the countryside.”

Copies of the Main Issues Report are available at each Council Service Point and Public Library in the area. However the easiest way to read it is online at www.highland.gov.uk/casplan.

This interactive version can be used to submit any comments people have, using the online form. David Cowie explains: “Many people used to working online should find it straight forward. We have though put on our website two brief user guides that should be of help, particularly to anyone less used to online documents and forms.”

Members of the CaSPlan team will be visiting a number of places across Caithness and Sutherland to share information about the Main Issues Report and answer people’s questions.  There will be drop in sessions each day from 2pm to 5.30pm and workshops from 6.30pm (please note that the date for the workshop in Brora will be announced shortly):

Place

Venue

Date

Thurso

Caithness Horizons, High Street

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Halkirk

Ross Institute, Bridge Street

Tuesday 25 November 2014

Wick

Town Hall, Bridge Street

Wednesday 26 November 2014

Tongue

Village Hall, Kirkiboll

Thursday 27 November 2014

Brora

Community Centre, Johnstone Place

Tuesday 2 December 2014

(NB. drop-in event only; date of workshop event to be announced)

Dornoch

Social Club, School Hill

Thursday 4 December 2014

Lochinver

Assynt Leisure Centre, Culag Pier

Monday 8 December 2014

Lairg

Community Centre, Main Street

Tuesday 9 December 2014

Next week residents in Caithness and Sutherland will receive a leaflet in the post which gives information on the Main Issues Report and the consultation.

The Council is also currently reviewing the core paths plan for Caithness and Sutherland.  Core paths are paths and tracks that provide a basic framework of routes to the countryside, places of interest or link settlements. The Council has produced a consultative report to start this review process. The CaSPlan consultation events will be attended by the core paths review team to provide preview of the consultative report and seek comments on it.

Anyone with questions can email the Development Plans Team at casplan@highland.gov.uk. People without access to the website or a computer, can contact the Development Plans Team, Development and Infrastructure Service, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness IV3 5NX or the Council’s Service Centre on 01349 886608.

Any comments on the Main Issues Report need to be received by The Council no later than 12 noon on Thursday 29 January 2015.

5 Nov 2014
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