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The Friends of the Far North Line
Cairdean Na Loine Tuath
the campaign group for rail north of Inverness - lobbying for improved services for the local user, tourist and freight operator

Sutherland Local Plan

In November 2008 we received the "Report on Representation - Sutherland Local Plan" which reproduced a summary of our representation and the Planning Department's response. Both are too long to reproduce here but the letter below gives a flavour of how dismissive the response had been.

David Cowie
Planning Department
The Highland Council

Dear Mr Cowie,

I am writing on behalf of Friends of the Far North Line following your response to our request that the future construction of a railway line from the Dornoch Firth Bridge (A9) to Golspie through Dornoch and Littleferry should not be compromised by planning decisions in the new Sutherland Local Plan.

We are disappointed that you do not appear to support our suggestion of a corridor through Dornoch primarily for recreational use, but wide enough to also accommodate a railway line at a later date. We were very mindful indeed of the undesirability of planning blight and aware of the continuing history of residential estates being created without sufficient community facilities. To our mind, our suggestion goes a long way towards a positive resolution of such issues combining them with facilitating a future railway. A "win-win" solution in modern parlance.

The principal purpose of planning is to facilitate sensible and sustainable growth and that tenet is behind recent government changes to the planning system. We note that the Sutherland Local Plan is to be the last of this type of plan and that work is already under way on the new pan-Highland Development Plan to replace the old Structure Plan. We would expect this to encourage and protect transport corridors and it would be a pity if the last local plan was to impede progress.

Accordingly, we would wish the need to facilitate a route for a future railway to be further examined in a wider planning context. In Caithness, East Sutherland, regional and even national interests it is important that a future sustainable transport link between Ardjachie and Golspie is not jeopardised.

It seems that to continue this representation we need to make it an "objection." Our completed response form is enclosed herewith.
Thank you for your attention.

Yours sincerely,

R J Ardern
Committee Member on behalf of FoFNL.