Recent events in the Highland Deephaven planning saga have taken a turn for the worse recently. As a result of the planning decision being further delayed the following letter was sent on 3rd. April 2003 to all Highland Regional Councillors.
Highland Deephaven (Rail Access) Application For Hearing 10th. April 2003
Last year at a planning application for a multi-modal (sea/rail/road) freight terminal at Highland Deephaven by Highland Deephaven Limited objectors and Highland Council raised a number of issues. In consequence, a decision was deferred pending an independent report commissioned jointly by Highland Council, RACE and Deephaven. This addressed issues raised and the recommendations of this report formed the basis of a new application by Highland Deephaven Limited.
The new application went to a hearing of the Full Planning Committee on 27th. March 2003 with a recommendation of approval by the Director of Planning. The Planning Committee approved this application (subject to conditions) by 13 votes to 3.
However, it is our understanding that some elected representatives have decided that the full Council should vet the scheme on 10th. April 2003, and we understand, that it is not thought necessary to hold a site visit.
The rail element of the original scheme was estimated at £2m. The amended proposal which dealt with local concerns about handling goods in an area not zoned for industry and noise has resulted in a doubling of this cost.
Is Highland Council to be seen as ignoring the government's aim to transfer goods from road to rail? Deephaven is unique in the Highlands because it can offer deep water, and good road and rail access, and therefore represents an excellent location for economic development. More importantly to the Friends of the Far North Line additional traffic on rail further increases the long term viability and security of the Highland rail network.
We urge you to consider the long term implications of turning away private sector capital and the concomitant opportunity for growth.
John Duncan Hon. Sec