Highlands and Islands Greens are becoming increasingly concerned about the SNP, Liberal-Democrat and Labour-led Highland Council’s unannounced decision to move away from full public consultation on major issues of direct concern to everyone in Inverness.
At its meeting on 12 August, the Council’s Inverness Area Committee discussed a European-funded QUEST project to assess and improve the sustainable transport of Inverness, including public transport provision and park and ride. The Committee agreed an action plan for the project.
The project was discussed with stakeholders, including HiTrans, Inverness Chamber of Commerce, and BID – but there was no consultation with Inverness Community Councils nor the public generally.
We have repeatedly invited Cllr. Hendry to explain why there has been no wider public consultation on this project, but he has yet to respond.
More recently, at its meeting on 21 October, the Council’s Inverness Area Committee discussed a procedure and process to identify land use and integrated transport priorities in Inverness. Again, the Council’s documentation indicates its plans to consult business organisations such as BID and the Chamber of Commerce as well as other interest groups, about the plan, but not Community Councils nor the wider public.
These projects have huge implications for the future of Inverness, yet most of the people who will be directly affected by these decisions are being denied any opportunity to influence them.
The Scottish Government has publicly stated that it expects engagement with the public to be meaningful and to occur from the earliest stages in the planning process. So what authority does the SNP, Liberal-Democrat and Labour-led Highland Council have for going down this unacceptable and undemocratic route?
Highlands and Islands Green Party