Sandown – More deals behind closed doors?

We have been advised that the Sandown Lands are up for sale – check this link on the Scottish property web site.
This has prompted some strong comment from Loreine Thomson of the Nairn Residents Concern Group in the form of a couple of emails to Mr Black.

Latest: See this update: http://www.gurnnurn.com/2010/06/sandown-not-for-sale-says-sandy.html. It appears that this is an old for sale notice still marked as “Under Offer” despite additions and updates dated June 2010. How confusing.
But the big issue remains. How can the terms of an recorded agreement suddenly change with no record of a Council meeting to approve the substantive change. No wonder suspicions have been roused. Even if Deveron do still have first call on the land, they are still obliged to consult the community – unless the old agreement really has been torn up and quietly replaced.


Dear Mr. Black,
It has come to the NRCG’s attention that Sandown Common Good Lands are again up for sale.  The Particulars of the sale cite a Development brief which has been prepared by Highland Council.
It is our understanding, following approval of the  HwLDP – Vision and Strategy paper presented to PED on 26th May 2010 that a NEW development brief will be drafted, that the Nairn community will be fully consulted on the contents of such a brief, and that any such Development Brief must be approved by the Council. No such consultation has taken place has taken place with the Nairn Community.

I would urgently seek your assurance that - (1) no un-consulted and unapproved development brief for the above site will be made available to prospective purchasers – until the Development Brief is approved fully by the Council
(2) the Nairn Community will be fully consulted on all aspects of the development brief
(3) the Nairn Community will be given appropriate time to disseminate and discuss the proposed development brief prior to formally submitting comments

(4) the Nairn Community will be given a copy of the final development brief prior its presentation to PED
(5) the Nairn Community will be fully apprised of the progression of the Development Brief to the Council I look forward to your reply as soon as possible.
Regards
Loreine Thomson on behalf of NRCG

A second email is as follows.

Dear Mr. Black,
The NRCG’s attention has been drawn to the fact that the version of the Vision and Spatial Strategy now showing on your website reflects two different versions of point 5.39.
Original wording in the Draft presented to the Council on 26 May 2010 (Printed out by me on 25th May 2010 at 14:00)

Sandown 5.39   The development of Sandown in the short to medium term will be supported, at a level more commensurate with the aspirations of the elected Members in their decision on the Sandown planning application.  IN ORDER TO PROGRESS THIS DEVELOPMENT A REVISED DEVELOPMENT BRIEF WILL BE PREPARED IN CONSULTATION WITH THE LOCAL COMMUNITY, WHICH WILL ENSURE A CO-ORDINATED APPROACH TO DEVELOPMENT WITH THE LAND AT DELNIES.

POSITION STATEMENT 21:  The Council will support the development of the Sandown Lands, and a Development Brief will be prepared to guide its development.  Any access solution must also relate to the Delnies land to the west, and provide for unfettered access to that development and shared access arrangements wherever possible.

This is now the wording shown on the website.

“Sandown

5.39   The Development of Sandown in the short to medium term will be supported, at a level more commensurate with the aspiration of the elected members in their decision on the Sandown planning application.

POSITION STATEMENT 21:  The Council will support the development Sandown subject to a review of the development potential for the site.  Any access solution  must also relate to the Delnies land to the west and provide for unfettered access to that development and shared access arrangements wherever possible.

Having checked the minutes of PED for 26 May 2010 I can see no mention of these significant changes being minuted and detailed as changes to the draft presented to the Committee.

website:  http://www.highland.gov.uk/yourcouncil/committees/strategiccommittees/planningenvironmentanddevelopmentcommittee/2010-05-26-ped-min.htm

1.  Can you please explain how such significant changes can be made to this document without the approval of the PED?

2.  How is it possible for the Community to constructively engage in planning matters when significant changes are made and not recorded in minutes?

I am bitterly disappointed with the approach of your Department.  This highlights the deviousness of Highland Council Planning Department to do what it likes – being open and transparent just doesn’t seem to be in the vocabulary of your Department.

I should be grateful for an urgent response.

Regards

Loreine Thomson on behalf of NRCG

5 Responses to “Sandown – More deals behind closed doors?”

  • Hi folks

    Further to Loreine’s comment above; I too had printed out a copy of the draft Vision and Spatial Strategy – included as Appendix 1 and linked as ‘Booklet B’ Point 5.39 of the copy that I printed out before the meeting does indeed state:

    “The Development of Sandown in the short to medium term will be supported, at a level more commensurate with the aspirations of the elected members in their decision on the Sandown Planning Application. In order to progress this development a revised Development Brief will be prepared in consultation with the local community, which will ensure a co-ordinated approach to development with the lands at Delnies.”

    This is what the on-line version that I have just read says:

    5.39 The development of Sandown in the short to medium term will be
    supported, at a level more commensurate with the aspirations of the elected
    Members in their decision on the Sandown planning application.

    There also seems to me to be nothing in the minute to indicate a change. It would be interesting to know which paragraph 5.39 was before the elected Members at the time the meeting took place?

    It is worth listening to the web cast of the PED 26/05/10 Agenda item 12, One of Councillor Fallows questions deals with Sandown para 5.39:

    http://www.highland.public-i.tv/site/player/pl_compact.php?a=40235&t=0&m=wm&l=en_GB#the_data_area

  • Duncan Brown says:

    May I say that this is getting to be rather typical of the actions of some officers of the Highland Council’s Planning Department who sometimes think that they are God.
    Brian Macgregor faced similar shenanigans regarding planning considerations over Bogbain Farm for David Sutherland. After several years, Brian eventually won all of his arguments which proved the underhandedness of the some officers of the Planning Department.

  • anon says:

    Dave Fallows starts speaking on Sandown 1 hour 48 minutes into that webcast :-)

  • Gràisg says:

    Is this the best time for anyone to be contemplating selling land?

  • Sandown lands have been advertised there since at least last year:
    http://www.mynairn.com/2009/07/20/sandown-lands-back-up-for-sale.html

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