Argyll and Bute Council News Round up - 21 February 2014

We are keen to keep you up-to-date with information on the work of the council. Here you will find information including links to news from the council, a ‘Did you Know’ update, a ‘Coming Up’ section and other news. 

If you have any suggestions for the kind of information you would like to read about, please do let us know.

We start this edition with a focus on planning, an area of our work that is of interest to many people.

Welcome from Councillor David Kinniburgh, Policy Lead for Planning and Regulatory Services

“The planning process can seem challenging at times, especially if you are involved with it for the first time. But professionally qualified and chartered planning officers at Argyll and Bute Council are there to help people through it.

“People will have ideas about what they want to do –whether it’s building a brand new house, making alterations to an older property, or creating premises for a new business. Essentially people can apply to do whatever they want – and we are aware that they can feel frustrated if they are told that their initial proposals are not possible.

“The challenge is making sure that people’s hopes, aspirations and ideas fit in with the community and land use surroundings where they live, so that the aspirations and visions of whole communities are maintained and realised. Trying to ensure an appropriate fit is where our planning officers come in – and they are there to help people who are getting involved with the planning system.

“All Argyll and Bute Council planning officers are professionally qualified and have considerable experience of the challenges posed by a large geographical area which includes urban, rural and remote settlements. They have an intimate knowledge of Argyll and Bute and the needs of its communities – and use this with their professional training and their understanding of the other policies, plans and legislation that can affect planning applications which come from individuals and large companies alike.

“Planning officers have to balance the wishes of the applicant against a range of other planning considerations – for example, the Argyll and Bute Local Plan, Scottish Government guidelines and legislation.  Inevitably this requires a degree of interpretation but there are always checks and balances within the system to ensure that the best decision is taken.

“If a proposal isn’t acceptable planners will offer guidance in terms of how a recommendation of refusal can be turned into an approval.  It’s not always possible, however, but they will do what they can.”

“We know that inevitably some people are going to be disappointed with a particular decision – especially so if that is confirmed by an appeal. However our planning officers are here to help before it gets to that stage. They work within a strict professional code of conduct as well as national and local planning policies, they have an in-depth knowledge of Argyll and Bute and its needs, and they will do whatever they can to help people who are engaging with the planning process.”

Some facts

  • Some planning applications are decided by officers under ‘delegated powers’ – which means that the planning service, with its checks and balances in place and bearing all the relevant policies and guidelines in mind, can make a decision itself in accordance with schemes approved in advance by councillors.
  • Other more contentious applications are referred to Argyll and Bute Council’s Planning, Protective Services and Licensing Committee, made up of elected members, who will carefully consider reports and other material planning considerations provided by the planning team, along with its recommendations. Councillors on the committee can decide to accept or reject the recommendations made by officers. 
  • In either case, if someone is unhappy that their planning application has been refused, there is always a right of appeal.
  • When a decision has been made by officers under delegated powers, people can appeal to a Local Review Body. An application refused by the Planning, Protective Services and Licensing Committee can be appealed to Scottish ministers.
  • More information about planning is available on our website.

Did you know?

Children’s library fun: Our library staff encourage all children and young people from babyhood to school-leavers to join their local library.

Using our website listening rather than reading it, changing the size of text – these are a couple of ways in which we can help make our website easier to use.

News from the council

Here are links to recent press releases:

Cross Street, Campbeltown reopens to vehicles

The tenement at the corner of Cross Street and Main Street (2 Cross St/50-52 Main St) in Campbeltown has been made safe, allowing the road to reopen on Monday 17 February.

Council welcomes new appointment to The Touring Network (Highlands and Islands)

Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Community and Culture, Councillor Robin Currie, has welcomed the appointment of John Saich to the Touring Network (Highlands and Islands) to help local people and community projects bring more professional music, dance and theatre into the region.

Developing Tyndrum to Oban Path

Local landowners, community councils and agencies have come together to oversee the next phase of the development of a path linking Tyndrum to Oban.

Soroba Lane Bridge Improvement

Argyll and Bute Council’s £425,000 project to replace the Soroba Lane Bridge in Oban to start on Monday 3 March for a period of 12 weeks.

Fixed penalty notices given to owners not cleaning up after their dogs

We would like to encourage any members of the public to report dog fouling in their area.

Next edition

Our next News Round Up will be issued on Friday 28th February. If you have any comments or questions on the News Round please contact press@argyll-bute.gov.uk