Mr Thomas Prag
Plannning, Environment and Development Committee
The Highland Council
Inverness IV3 5NX
Dear Councillor Prag
INNER MORAY FIRTH LOCAL DEVLOPMENT PLAN
I am writing on behalf of my Party to invite The Highland Council to exclude from its forthcoming draft Inner Moray Firth Development Plan (IMFLDP) any proposals for designating the East Inverness and Tornagrain areas for ‘concrete’ development, and instead for these areas to be designated as being retained for agricultural land and/or as (public) open space.
We have previously expressed our objections to the Council’s development plan proposals for East Inverness and Tornagrain, most recently in response to the public consultation associated with the IMFLDP ‘Main Issues’ report. I am writing now because recent events demonstrate quite clearly that The Highland Council has no public mandate to include these proposals in the draft IMFLDP:
- Firstly, none of the local political parties who contested the May 2012 local elections, and whose Councillors now serve on the Highland Council, included in their manifestos for the Highlands any mention of The Council’s (earlier) proposals for East Inverness and Torngrain.
- Similarly, The Highland Council’s recently-agreed ‘Working together for the Highlands’ action programme includes no such provision (although the programme did include a commitment to support “large-scale employment growth opportunities” in other parts of the Highlands, including the Cromarty Firth, Scrabster Enterprise Area, Ardersier and Kishorn and in the UHI Campus development).
The scale of the proposed developments at East Inverness and Tornagrain is vast. If enacted, their effect could have major detrimental implications for businesses, employment, population growth and infrastructure investment across the Highlands, as well as for other parts of Inverness itself.
Yet no member of the public has been offered the opportunity to vote on these proposals. On this basis alone, SNP, labour and Lib Dem. have no public mandate to proceed with them. But their complete absence from The Highland Council’s (priorities) action programme – and because of the scale of the undertaking envisaged – makes plans for their continuation now out-of-the-question.
I would therefore be grateful if you would confirm that the provisions of the forthcoming draft IMFLDP will not include proposals for developing East Inverness and Tornagrain (on the lines envisaged in the IMFLDP ‘Main Issues’ report). Instead, please confirm that the draft will propose that Tornagrain remain as valuable agricultural land, with a similar designation for East Inverness but also to comprise public open space, including parkland, allotments, children’s playgrounds etc.
I am copying this letter to Caroline Gardner (Audit Scotland), Jim Mackinnon (Scottish Government) and Alistair Dodds (Highland Council).
Highlands and Islands Green Party