5th January 2010
Scottish Government Reporters, Ms Jill Moody and Mr Hugh Begg, held a Public Inquiry on the Cairngorms National Park Local Plan earlier this year. The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) has now received the Inquiry report and the Reporters’ recommendations.
Prior to the Inquiry the CNPA undertook extensive discussions with communities, businesses and public sector partners in the National Park to prepare the Local Plan. Local Plans are a key document for all planning authorities and provide guidance and direction for future development.
Duncan Bryden, the CNPA’s planning convener, said: “The Inquiry Report is important and detailed and raises significant issues which everyone will need time to digest and consider. It sets out a number of recommendations with a particular emphasis on the allocation of land for meeting future housing needs in the Park.
“The Local Plan is put together in response to what we heard from people and it aims to strike a balance between their needs for housing, recreation, economic development and the need to look after the special Cairngorms environment and heritage. The Reporters have carefully considered the issues and it is extremely valuable to have their very thorough appraisal.
“National Parks are new to Scotland and this is the first ever Park Local Plan to under go an Inquiry. It is our job to be pioneers and we knew that this was never going to be a straight-forward process. Delivering a clear, focused and considered Local Plan for the Park is our goal and the consultation and Inquiry process is an excellent opportunity for everyone to work together to achieve this outcome. So far the level of public engagement has been encouraging and we hope it will continue.
“The Inquiry report is 338 pages long and contains much detailed assessment so we will need time to consider its recommendations. CNPA planning committee will meet, in public, in February to consider their response to the recommendations, and we are unable to respond to individual issues arising from the report until then.”
The CNPA’s Head of Planning Don McKee confirmed: “If we decide to make changes to the Plan in response to the Reporters’ recommendations then people will have a further chance to comment on these before the Plan is adopted.”
The Inquiry Report recommendations re-emphasise that the Cairngorms National Park was established by the Scottish Government because it is a special area which needs to be cared for – both for the exceptional wildlife, natural qualities and landscapes it contains and for the people who live in it, manage it and visit it. And, as it is such a unique place, future development needs to be looked at differently than it would be in other parts of Scotland.
Following consideration of the Reporters’ recommendations the Local Plan will move to formal adoption and when approved will replace the current Local Plans covering the four local authority areas within the Park: Aberdeenshire, Angus, Highland and Moray.
The full Inquiry Report containing the Reporters’ recommendations is available to view at the CNPA’s Grantown and Ballater offices or online.