Help prepare new development plan for West Highland’s future
A major public consultation has now started to help prepare a new 20 year Local Development Plan for the West Highland area, to be known as WestPlan. The Main Issues Report which has now been published is the first formal stage of preparing the new Plan. It is subject to a 10 week public consultation which closes on 10th June 2016.
The Main Issues Report – or MIR for short – is not a draft plan, it is a discussion document that sets out initial ideas for what the plan needs to achieve for people and places in the area and where new development might be located. WestPlan will eventually be used to assess planning applications and decide how the area grows.
Ross and Cromarty Committee Chair, Councillor Margaret Paterson said: “The Main Issues Report is an important stage in the preparation of the new West Highland & Islands Local Development Plan. It provides ideas for future priorities in the area based around the themes of employment, growing communities, connectivity and transport, and environment and heritage. It reflects the Council’s initial ideas and preferences for directing growth to the right places, whilst supporting key industries. For a number of places it includes options for where new homes, jobs and services should be sited.”
Over the next few days properties immediately adjacent to the potential development sites within the Plan will receive a notification letter explaining that the Plan may have a direct impact on their locality. This will help to make people aware of the consultation, the ideas in the MIR and the opportunity to comment.
Community groups, businesses, public agencies and individual members of the public are urged to give their views. The easiest way to read and comment on the Main Issues Report is online via http://consult.highland.gov.uk. For those not online, a paper copy of the MIR is also available to view at each public library within the Plan area. These people can comment by contacting the Development Plans Team, Development and Infrastructure Service, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness IV3 5NX or via phoning the Council’s Service Centre on 01349 886608.
The Council’s Isle of Skye and Raasay Committee Chair, Councillor Drew Millar said: “It is essential that everyone gets involved at this stage. This is your chance to help shape the future of the places where you live and work.
Councillor Thomas MacLennan, Chair of the Lochaber Committee added: “It is vital for people that want to find out more should come along to one of a series of public events which are being held during April and May.”
These events will be advertised locally and via the Council’s website and will be held in the following places: Ullapool, Poolewe, Gairloch, Ballachulish, Kinlochleven, Strontian, Mallaig, Lochcarron, Broadford, Sleat (Ardvasar), Portree, Dunvegan, Staffin, Kyle of Lochalsh, Kyleakin, Fort William and Spean Bridge between 18 April and 27 May 2016 inclusive.