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.