Prior to the meeting of the P&K Development Management Committee on 14 May, the Pitlochry based John Muir Trust  (JMT) circulated an open letter and a summary submission to the Council members concerning the recommendation of Planning Officers that approval be granted to an application by I & H Brown’s for seven turbines up to 127metres high at North Calliachar.
HelenMcDadeWebIn these missives, Helen McDade (pictured), the JMT’s Head of Policy, protested forcefully about what she described as the ‘anti democratic procedures’ employed by P&K in dealing, at committee, with objections to large development proposals under consideration.
Having been told that all the organisations and individuals wishing to make representation regarding the North Calliachar application were restricted to a total of five minutes, she wrote: “Since 75 seconds is not long enough to address the very serious concerns that objectors have about this application, ...the Trust wishes to register a major concern about ..being allocated such a small amount of time.  

Anti Democratic
“This is anti-democratic and gives the appearance of trying to stifle legitimate concerns from local and national respondees, whose concerns may very well differ from each other. 
“All are deserving of consideration, if their objection is founded on planning and environmental regulation.”
The Trust believes that enough time must be given for proper representation to the committee. It maintains that a social and environmental injustice which would occur if P&K approved another seven turbines which would be a ‘significant increase, in visual, landscape and cumulative effect, to the Calliachar development which was reduced in number at ...(Public) Inquiries, to make acceptable the visual, landscape and cumulative impacts’.
Helen McDade’s missive continued: “Decision-makers need to be mindful of the fact that there is not an Equal Right of Appeal for objectors.  If the application is approved, objectors have only legal remedies, whereas the developers always have the right to appeal to the Scottish Government. 
“Indeed, it can be seen why recommending approval, and approving difficult applications is attractive.  If the Planners recommend approval, they will not have to fight the case if it goes to Appeal – a stressful business as hundreds of local residents can attest to.”
It was stressed that, if the proposal was not refused outright by the committee on the sound planning reasons presented by itself and others, the JMT would expect the councillors concerned to decide to go on a site visit, .

Calliachar Key Issues
The Trust raised the following key issues for committee consideration as it maintained there to be significant errors in the conclusions of the Planning Officer’s Report regarding

  • assessment of impacts on the three National Scenic Areas referred to in Report;
  • assessment of impacts on Schiehallion – important to tourism and a Trust property;
  • assessment of impact on wild land and the SNH proposed Cores Areas of Wild Land;
  • cumulative landscape and visual assessment – both combined and sequential effects;
  • tourism impacts, including on the Rob Roy Way;
  • impact on local communities – social and economic blight of continual attrition of their environment;
  • use of selective conclusions from previous planning decisions on surrounding development.”

 
 

 

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