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Highlands and Islands Greens
Highlands and Islands Greens

Highland Council Denying Public Access to Controversial Highland-Wide Development Plan Committee Minutes

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Highland Greens have today accused the Liberal Democrat-led Highland Council of politicking by refusing to release the minutes of its Planning Committee meeting held on 16 March, when their controversial proposals for concreting over East Inverness were discussed, until 6 May — the day after the Holyrood elections.

Eleanor Scott, a Scottish Green Party list candidate for Highlands and Islands, said:

“The Lib Dem-led Highland Council are running scared.  The Highland-wide Development plan is crucially important to the Highlands.  It will dictate for decades to come where major developments can and can’t be built — in effect it will be the Domesday Book for the Highlands.  The process of preparing the Plan should be fully open to public scrutiny and comment.

“Yet the Council has point-blank refused our request for the immediate release of the minutes, and only intends to issue them on 6 May, one day after the election and just a week before the all-important Council meeting on 12 May, when the Highland-wide Development Plan will be discussed.  Almost two months will have passed before the public has sight of what Councillors decided on 16 March.  How, in just a week, are Community Councils and the public generally, as well as ourselves expected to scrutinise Councillors’ decisions and take any necessary action before the 12 May Council meeting?

“The Council says that the webcast of the 16 March meeting is available for viewing.  But this is a far from adequate substitute.  The public should not have to make their own interpretations of what was and wasn’t agreed.

“The Council’s deliberate action is grossly undemocratic.  Clearly, the Lib Dem-led Council are desperate to keep their preposterous proposals for concreting over East Inverness and Tornagrain out of the public eye until after the elections.  Now they have been found out.