In advance of the meeting with Kinross-shire Ward members on Friday 9th June at 2.30pm I felt it necessary to write to you regarding the above consultation, its outcome and my conclusions.
You will recall following our briefing on the Main Issues Report consultation responses from Kinross-shire last September, local members felt there was merit in seeking further community views for certain development proposals in Fossoway that appeared to offer significant community benefit, given the delay in finalising LDP2 consultation until Autumn 2017. I make no apologies for this and I think the subsequent consultation event in February last was very well attended and vindicated our stance; we also took the opportunity to consult on the most effective use of the capital funds secured in the June 2016 budget for the A977 and now have the outcome of these consultations.
Unfortunately I believe the consultation was partly undermined in Crook of Devon by the circulation of a letter and enclosures from a resident containing misinformation and inaccuracies and also in Rumbling Bridge by a petition presented to me during the early stages of the consultation event containing some dated signatures from people who may not have seen the proposals at the event itself. Also, references at the consultation event that PKC planning did not support the zoning proposals at this stage and probably could not insist upon the community benefits proposed being delivered has not helped in the assessment of the consultation. I believe, in hindsight, that the developers’ proposals were far too detailed (at PKC request) for a zoning exercise and not everyone understood that we were not dealing with a planning application.
Turning to the summary of comments received collated by Katie and also the response from Fossoway Community Council, I would comment as follows –
I perceive there were more folk from Blairingone than highlighted in the summary and endorse the Community Council’s response. There is clear support for extending housing development to the south of the A977 and the community benefits offered, with particular reference to the need to support continuance of the primary school, which is under review in the first phase of Perth & Kinross Council’s school estate transformation assessment. I noted the use of pinch-points within the village on the A977 but no roundabout on approaches so have concerns about control of speeding traffic from the west.
CROOK OF DEVON
I disagree with the Community Council’s conclusion opposing re-zoning of this site and advocating further infill sites.
Whilst I recognise that approximately 60% of respondents objected to the detail, its’ scale and impact on the village; of those expressing support and other comments made, it is also clear that a number of community benefits offered and suggested are worthy of possible further exploration, in the context of a smaller development, if zoning was agreed.
I would refer here to my email of 3 March 2017 to the Community Council enclosed, responding to the residents’ letter and enclosures mentioned earlier.
As regards considering infill sites, I believe the recent experience in the Drum area is not a good example to emulate. The Muirfield site has been over-developed and I have the relevant correspondence with the planning department. The Back Crook area has been spoilt beyond recognition recently, as a previously considered conservation area, by the building of a group of large houses completely out of character with the original ones.
My preference for taking things forward in Crook of Devon would be to consider the old railway line as the southern boundary of the settlement as far as Crook Moss and to revisit the settlement strategy work mentioned in para 7.12 of LDP1; I would include the site proposed for further discussions within the community as to what should be supported.
I find much in the Community Council’s response that I agree with. I remain of the view, expressed in my letter to yourself of 16 March 2016, that the 2004 Local Plan boundary that followed the Devon Gorge to Naemoor Road was much better in concept than the current one. I maintain that the parking situation and footpath links with the Gorge still require to be finally addressed, whether or not the site is zoned. I believe the landowners of the site offered community benefits in advance of development and fail to see why further community engagement on relatively modest proposals couldn’t produce a solution acceptable to the community.
I will have the summary of consultation responses passed to the Roads Department for our meeting and enclose my press articles of 8 December 2015 and 12 April 2017 regarding this issue.
Cllr Michael Barnacle
Independent Member for Kinross-shire
Thanks to all those who supported my successful re-election to the Kinross-shire Ward of PKC on 4/5/17. It is very humbling to have the privilege of representing yourselves for a fifth and final term; I pledge to do my best to deliver on the range of unfinished business highlighted in my election leaflet.
The election produced no party with overall control in Perth and Kinross and so I have held talks with Leaders of the Liberal Democrats, SNP and Tories in seeking to secure improvements for the shire from an agreed programme.
My talks were most productive with the Liberals and Tories so I have chosen to join their partnership administration, along with the sole Labour member and my two fellow Independent colleagues.
I have secured the Vice Convenership of the new conjoined powerful Committee for the Environment, Enterprise and Infrastructure, also serving on the Development Management Committee and the Modernising Governance MOWG that will look at devolving power to communities. I will also continue my work for the Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust and the Perth & Kinross Outdoor Access Forum.
Finally, I would like to express my personal disappointment that my fellow Independent Ward Councillor Dave Cuthbert, with whom I had established an excellent working relationship, was not re-elected when I personally am aware of the huge amount of work he did in the Ward and at PKC. It is possible our combined vote was affected by the calling of the General Election during the campaign that inevitably began to focus people’s minds on national, as opposed to local, issues. However, knowing Dave, I’m sure he will be resolved to continue his work in the community and perhaps return to PKC office in due course.
Councillor Mike Barnacle
Independent Member for Kinross-shire