We Understand an SPS Announcement is Imminent on the Alternative Site

We trust it is going to come to fruition however we just want to make a little statement on behalf of your Campaign.

We have fought this long and hard. We have never ever ceased. It has been a single issue campaign to right a wrong. We have used every avenue available to deliver the just result. There will be local and national politicians who will promote the success of the campaign for political ends and to gain votes and that is absolutely understood and expected. We do appreciate their continued support, however (and this is the caveat) don’t be naive enough to think it was delivered only by them as individuals.

What is important is that when both Fergus Ewing and Edward Mountain declared their opposition at our public meeting they have continued to support us, thank you. This win has absolutely been delivered with their support but also by us being non-partisan and using every networking opportunity and holding the establishment to account.

We have spent countless hours and had so much support from all sorts of people, organisations and business. We couldn’t have done it without you and it is very much appreciated. You were all a part of this, you should all be extremely proud of what you have achieved so far.

 

From the Press: New Prison Site Identified 

The Inverness Courier and The Press & Journal have been reporting on the potential new prison location.

Stratton was on the original call for sites but this is now the preferred location as we understand it. This is an industrial site previously zoned for industrial use and far more appropriate.

We can only hope their source is reliable! Progress being made none the less.

 

We remain concerned about the quietness

We have been in touch with both Fergus Ewing and Edward Mountain to ask them to ascertain the current position, there appears to be no publicly available information online regarding any planning considerations. As at the 11th of July SPS retain all of the previously published details on their site.

http://www.sps.gov.uk/Corporate/Information/HMPHighlandProposal.aspx

 

EDIT: Edward Mountain tweeted the following:

 

 

Back to Business

WE’VE ENJOYED THE EUPHORIA OF WINNING THE PAUSE BATTLE BUT WE STILL NEED TO PREPARE FOR THE WAR. WE TAKE NOTHING FOR GRANTED.

Whilst we appreciate the pause in the process the Milton of Leys site was always a travesty for Milton of Leys Residents and Inverness as a whole. The reason for the choice of this site is absolutely not in the best interests of the local community nor the tax payer. Our numerous Freedom of Information requests, subsequent meetings and extensive legal analysis have identified serious flaws in the site selection process which will have a detrimental financial impact on the public purse if this is allowed to proceed. The site purchase will cost more than land in public ownership, the building will cost more due to the wind loading in that location and the requirement for increased insulation. As it is located above the snow line there are additional ongoing costs involved in heating and transportation during winter months and a requirement for subsidised public transport due to poor transport links. Due process was not followed in a way we should expect a public body to conduct OUR business.

This is on top of the fact that the SPS assessment ruled this site as unsuitable due to the proximity and its impact on the MOL residents and they did not ask for it to be zoned as such in the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan consultation thereby decrying us of the opportunity to have our voices heard. It is against the publish IMFLDP IN69 use and zoning requirements and the Inverness City Vision and Gateway.

SPS cannot seriously revert to Milton of Leys if their new alternative falls through. We have documented evidence that the other ten sites they originally identified were never seriously considered. They had no Plan B following their preferred choice which was the site owned by HIE. Their own FOI documentation attests to this, there was no competent assessment of ANY other locations. If the site currently under review will take 4 to 6 months to assess they must also use this time to revisit a call for sites. The perception of due process has been so seriously undermined that any reversion to Milton of Leys will be impossible to justify and we will fight this to the nth degree.

To ensure this can never happen to a local community ever again it is vital that we now lobby for a change in planning legislation. Per our previous Facebook post we have now submitted a request to petition the Scottish Government to support changes to the legal framework to ensure local communities have legislated recourse and influence in changes to local plan zoning. If this petition is approved by the committee we hope you will sign and share. The current system perpetuates the unjust nature of the decision making process and is undemocratic. Local decisions need to be made by local people.

We trust that SPS will never again try and obtain planning consent directly adjacent to a community without considering the consequences.
We trust that our local Councillors and our MSP Fergus Ewing will continue this fight with us and appreciate all of their support this far.

 

CALL TO ACTION – Friday 24th June 2016

Download and print this letter here: HAPPL Consultation Letter

Residents of Inverness

Dear Resident,

As you may be aware our campaign group was formed when we learnt of the possibility of a new prison planned for Inverness being located at the entrance to the city on the same access as the slip road for Culloden Battlefield, Cawdor Castle and adjacent to the Tourist Information Centre as you arrive at the city. It is also going to be directly opposite a thriving and expanding major housing development, MOL Primary School and Scotland’s Housing Expo. It is a wholly ludicrous and inappropriate location.

It was not zoned as such in the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan 2015 (IMFLDP) nor was it referred to in the legally required consultation in this regard. We have written to our MP, MSP’s, local councillors and officials and have had extensive media coverage. We held a packed public meeting with not one hand raised in support of the potential location. In 2009 The Scottish Prison Service carried out a review of 12 potential areas in Inverness which they asked Highland Council to consider. Only one of these was referred to in the consultation process with no site being approved for inclusion in the IMFLDP. Their own Drivers Jonas Assessment Document found that the MOL site failed their very specific criteria and yet they are now pursuing. We are awaiting a response from the SPS CEO for a requested pause in the process following a meeting at the Scottish Parliament with him and Fergus Ewing MSP.

In respect of the immediate area adjacent to the proposed site, The Scottish Government Planning Advice Note, PAN 83, Masterplanning, September 2008, Rob Cowan comments:

“It will be a showpiece of urban design, presenting a form of layout very different to Scottish house-builders’ standard models. There are very few imaginative, alternative models of new residential development to be seen in Scotland, or indeed in the UK, so this will fill a real gap. The degree of thought that has gone into the masterplan has been high…”

We propose the following draft timetable and actions:

  • We continue to hold our elected members to account from Highland Council to the Scottish Parliament; they have a duty to represent us, please keep emailing, writing, calling and networking.
    We attend the second consultation meeting on the 28th of June and continue to reinforce that we do not accept their ideology that Milton of Leys is an appropriate site for all of the reasons they themselves published in their own Drivers Jonas Assessment and everything we have previously outlined through the media, on our Facebook and our Website.
  • The core group will meet with our Planning Consultant to discuss our material consideration objections for any potential future planning application and to agree appropriate responses on the Colliers/SPS pre-planning consultations.
  • Assuming this proposal gets to the planning stage (likely to be submitted early July 2016) we will host a public meeting/workshop to assist individuals to write material consideration objections to the proposal.
  • On the day of the planning application hearing (27th September 2016, 8th November 2016 or 13th December 2016) we will hold a peaceful PROTEST outside Highland Council Offices to have our voices heard and will attend the meeting in the public gallery.

This will depend on whether our elected members decide to approve the application however the fight will not be over if they do, we will continue…….

We do understand that politicians have of course rightly been focussing on the EU referendum but life goes on now and Colliers/SPS are clearly well versed in timing of applications (This bombshell was dropped on us during purdah when the Scottish Parliament was in recess prior to the elections and their second consultation is announced two days before the EU referendum) a cynical view would be that this was deliberate….. Edward Mountain MSP has also been in touch and is working to have this ludicrous proposal stopped but we need a definitive answer and a plan.

The Inverness City Vision states that ‘the A9 corridor operates at a strategic level linking the Highlands and the wider landscape setting; it presents an opportunity for the city to portray itself at an international scale. It is a gateway. It announces the moment, for many of ‘coming home’. Is this the vision for Inverness city, after the long journey up the A9 we want residents and visitors to experience? As you arrive the landscape opens up with Easter Ross and Ben Wyvis and down to the stunning vista of the city and the Moray Firth, this cannot be allowed to be blighted. We can do better than this, we have a responsibility to future generations.

Many thanks for taking the time to read our letter, we hope to see you at the consultation.

Yours faithfully,

Steve Gordon

HAPPL Campaign

 

 

Campaign Crowdfunding Clarification – what happens to the money donated?

Funds will be used for legal and expert technical support. We will not be using the funds for any incidental or minor expenses and we will publish statements and receipts on the website to remain open and transparent. Several of us have already incurred personal expense in furthering HAPPL aims.

This expert support is required NOW. WE CANNOT WAIT UNTIL THE FORMAL PLANNING APPLICATION IS SUBMITTED, we must assemble all our legal and technical arguments before then. This may involve both lawyers and survey costs for alternative sites.

IF there are any funds left at the end of the campaign we will split them between charities which benefit the Highlands.

If anyone is unhappy with this please do not donate but if you do….. https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/happl-campaign/

CLOSED FOR DONATIONS – THANK YOU!

Thank you for your support!

 

PLEASE DONATE – TIME TO STAND UP AND BE COUNTED

CLOSED FOR DONATIONS – THANK YOU!

Please give what you can. This looks like it could be a protracted battle.

https://crowdfunding.justgiving.com/happl-campaign/