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10 OCTOBER

PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON EISHORT 2 [14/02574/FUL] IS NOW OPEN - CLOSING 7 NOVEMBER 2014

Announced in the West Highland Free Press yesterday (9 Oct).

Please write to the Highland Council's case officer (planning) expressing your views on this development:

  1. By filling in the ONLINE FORM
  2. or by E-MAIL to eplanning@highland.gov.uk with your letter attached as a PDF or DOC
  3. or by POST to: Colin Wishart, ePlanning Centre, The Highland Council, Glenurquhart Road, Inverness IV3 5NX.

 

PUBLIC MEETING
7.30 pm at Tarskavaig Communities Hall on Tuesday 21 October
Chaired by Sleat Community Council to discuss Hjaltland's fish farm planning applications and how we will be responding via the Highland Council's Public Consultation facility.

 

WEST HIGHLAND FREE PRESS
Feature on page 3 of 10/10/14 edition, in part reporting an interview with James Merryweather.

 

ANOMALY: RESPONSES FROM STATUTORY CONSULTEES
(What SEPA, SNH and all the other authorities who advise the planners
from their particular expertise have to say about each planning application)

I have been told by representatives of SNH and SEPA that they have only this week been asked for their official responses to the application Eishort 2 [14/02574/FUL]. As much was already evident from the adroitly submitted response letter from the Lighthouse Board, but first-hand confirmation has been informative.

The SNH response will be begun in two weeks time, after a spell during which the Portree office will be closed, presumably reopening 27 October, a mere two weeks before the end of public involvement (7 November). That's two weeks to settle in at the office after a long break, think, write, submit and then we have to wait for uploading.

SEPA have told me that their deadline for submitting their appraisal of Eishort 2 will be 4 November, just three days before Public Consultation closes and the eplanning office often takes several days to upload documents.

We rely on those documents to inform our comment letters, so what are we to do?

The same happened with the Loch Slapin consultation, when the SNH response failed to arrive online until after the closing date. I seem to have been the only objector ready to pick it up the baton and keep running on that occasion. I hurriedly wrote an additional comment letter, which I requested should be accepted late because of the exceptional circumstances (which I naively presumed must be unique), and on that occasion it was (a precedent we might need to cite).

We will be obliged to do likewise with our Eishort 2 comments, but I hope that many more of us will take a stand on this irregularity. It may be convenient for a busy planning officer to have all documents together at roughly the same time, but we the public require to read the entire document set before we even begin to think about our own responses and we can't do that if the documents aren't available in time to meet our needs.

There is no way we can hurry this process because the statutory consultees did not receive notice themselves until Monday 6 Oct. Those of us who will be dissecting and appraising the application documents will have to make the best of what is there before 7 November and as soon as we can thereafter (well before the decision date of 29 November!) get writing our follow-up letter.

Let us recall Alex Salmond's Lerwick Declaration of 25 July 2013:

“We believe that the people who live and work in Scotland are best placed to make decisions about our future – the essence of self-determination; therefore we support subsidiarity and local decision making. It follows, therefore, that any government committed to that policy should listen to the views expressed across all of Scotland”

We cannot express our views and participate meaningfully in decision making if we don't know upon what material those decisions are being made!

Please complain to Councillor Thomas Prag, Chair, Planning Development and Infrastructure Committee quoting, if you wish, Alex Salmond’s Lerwick Declaration.

 

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