26th January 2007
After careful consideration the planning committee of the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) has decided not to lodge Answers in response to Dalfaber Action Group’s (DAG) appeal to the Court of Session because it was felt a response would not add anything to DAG appeal. DAG’s appeal focuses on the decision by the Scottish Executive’s Inquiry Reporter’s Unit (SEIRU) with regards to planning permission for 104 houses at Dalfaber, Aviemore.
The CNPA has sought further advice from Counsel over a Petition it has been served with on behalf of the DAG to lodge Answers in respect of its appeal.
Convener of the CNPA, David Green explained: “Counsel has advised us that the DAG appeal does not raise issues in relation to the aims of the National Park. If the CNPA was to lodge Answers, they would have to be restricted to dealing with the points raised by DAG – consequently, we do not feel a response would add anything to their appeal.”
The CNPA planning committee voted at a previous meeting on Friday December 15th 2006 not to lodge its own appeal against the SEIRU decision. The CNPA took account of legal advice and other factors before coming to the difficult decision.
If the challenge was successful the decision would have to be quashed and the reporter would have to issue a new one. However, it is quite feasible that any new decision would be the same as the present one, particularly as the area in question is allocated in the current adopted Local Plan for Badenoch and Strathspey.
The conditions attached to the appeal decision allow the CNPA considerable scope to influence the layout, phasing and appearance of the development in the subtext of subsequent applications.
The CNPA has already stated that it wishes to have a general dialogue with SEIRU on the way in which the status of the Park and the statutory aims are reflected in the reporter’s deliberations in appeal situations.
With regards to the previous point, the CNPA may wish to focus wider public discussions and debate on these issues through the Local Plan, due to go on deposit in June 2007, rather than in the context of a court hearing in Edinburgh with the possibility of a decision that could create legal precedent taken by a judge.
An appeal to the Court of Session could cost a six figure sum which would have to be funded from the operating budget of the CNPA at the expense of other activities.