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Planning Convener responds to meeting location criticism

14th November 2018

The CNPA Planning Committee was criticised by Cllr Bill Lobban in the press last week for considering two Aviemore applications at a meeting being held in Ballater. The applications in question were in relation to the developer having to satisfy the conditions of planning permissions that already exist for housing on these  sites.

In response to the articles printed last week, our Planning Committee Convener, Eleanor Mackintosh has the following response:

“Our Planning Committee meets monthly and we alternate between the east and west of the Park to ensure decisions are taken as close to local people as possible. We will also move a Committee meeting when we can, so that very significant applications are held nearer to the relevant community. The Aviemore applications concerned detailed matters that are specified in planning conditions and therefore it was considered acceptable to hear them in Ballater to keep the business moving.

“We always try and ensure that people actively participate in our meetings before we make a decision. All objectors, and the appropriate Community Council are given the opportunity to make a 10 minute presentation at the meeting. This direct involvement of interested parties is not a common practice and would not have happened if these Aviemore planning applications had been considered by the relevant local authority.

“One particular article referred to the CNPA having given the housing development “the final go-ahead”.  This is  quite wrong with three outstanding matters where the applicant still needs to supply information to us, including provision of affordable housing and crossings of roads/access/railway.

“Locally elected CNPA Board member Willie MacKenna secured a commitment that whenever these matters come forward, the meeting will be held in the Badenoch and Strathspey area.

“Finally, many of the planning decisions we make are controversial and have the ability to cause upset. This development site has been allocated  in our Local Development Plan for many years. Readers should be aware that the  recent press articles were stimulated by a local authority councillor who lives immediately adjacent to the proposed development and who has very actively campaigned against it in a personal capacity for many years.”

Eleanor Mackintosh, Planning Convenor, Cairngorms National Park Authority & Directed Elected Member for Ward 4.