This document will be of particular interest to NEMT members as it introduces the concept of Zoning into the Parks planning system. Concerns have been expressed that the broad principle of zoning risks areas given low value being seen as ripe for development without restriction. However there are many positives in this Guidance. In particular, the document stresses that planning proposals must consider the impact of developments in lower bands on the feel of wildness in higher bands, particularly in relation to visual intrusion.
The Park is divided into 3 bands based on a mapping exercise:
There are anomalies in the mapping (e.g. the entrance to Coire Fee is given the same banding as the centre of Aviemore) and the colour shading on the map seems a little imprecise.
The proof of the pudding will be in the eating and, whilst the guidance states that all planning applications within the Park must comply with Supplementary Planning Guidance, NEMT will be asking representatives of the Park how they intended to ensure that this happens in practice and that the guidance is taken seriously.
The guidance is available at: http://www.cairngorms.co.uk/park-authority/planning/local-plan
George Allan, Deputy Chairman
Richard Lochhead MSP and Cabinet Secretary has set up an 18-strong group of farmers, foresters, conservation and community and land experts, chaired by Andrew Barbour to determine how best the expansion of Scotlands woodlands can be taken forward. Further details are on www.forestry.gov.uk/weag and views are sought, by email, firstname.lastname@example.org, with a deadline of 6th January 2012. [The Final report and the Cabinet Secretary's response are on the web]
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