Highland Council urged to reconsider development plan for Inner Moray Firth

The business community in the Inner Moray Firth area has called for the Highland Council to review its proposed local development plan, which they claim is outdated and does not reflect the current and future needs of the region.

Plan submitted to Scottish Ministers

The Highland Council submitted the Inner Moray Firth Proposed Local Development Plan 2 to Scottish Ministers on 24 March 2023. The plan sets out the policies and land allocations to guide development in the Inner Moray Firth area over the next 20 years. The plan was based on a public consultation that closed on 17 June 2022.

However, the plan has faced criticism from various stakeholders, including the business community, who argue that the plan does not take into account the changes and challenges that have occurred since the consultation, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the climate emergency, and the post-Brexit scenario.

Business community’s concerns

The business community in the Inner Moray Firth area has expressed its concerns about the plan in a letter to the Highland Council, signed by more than 50 businesses and organisations, including the Inverness Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses, and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry.

 plan for Inner Moray Firth

The letter states that the plan is “not fit for purpose” and “fails to provide a clear vision and strategy for the economic development and regeneration of the Inner Moray Firth area”. The letter also claims that the plan does not allocate enough land for business and industrial use, does not support the growth of key sectors such as tourism, life sciences, and renewable energy, and does not address the infrastructure and transport needs of the region.

The letter urges the Highland Council to review the plan and engage with the business community to ensure that the plan reflects the current and future opportunities and challenges of the Inner Moray Firth area.

Highland Council’s response

The Highland Council has responded to the letter by stating that the plan is “robust and sound” and that it has followed the statutory process for preparing and submitting the plan to Scottish Ministers. The council also said that the plan is supported by a range of background documents, including a strategic environmental assessment, a habitats regulations appraisal, a transport appraisal, and an equalities impact assessment.

The council added that the plan is not final and that it is subject to an independent examination by a reporter appointed by Scottish Ministers. The council said that it will consider any recommendations made by the reporter and make any necessary modifications to the plan before adopting it.

The council also said that it is committed to working with the business community and other stakeholders to deliver the plan and to support the economic recovery and growth of the Inner Moray Firth area.

By Zane Lee

Zane Lee is a talented content writer at Cumbernauld Media, specializing in the finance and business niche. With a keen interest in the ever-evolving world of finance, Zane brings a unique perspective to his articles and blog posts. His in-depth knowledge and research skills allow him to provide valuable insights and analysis on various financial topics. Zane's passion for writing and his ability to simplify complex concepts make his content engaging and accessible to readers of all levels.

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