The following email was sent to fellow Councillors on 9 May 2016.
You should recall the opposition of local members and the overwhelming majority of the community to the recommendation for approval at Committee on 1st August 2012 (applicants have been on site since March 2012 without adequate drainage, sewage and water arrangements), particularly in relation to policies on drainage within the Loch Leven catchment, landscape assessment, residential amenity and proximity to the settlement boundary of Crook of Devon.
Most issues I raised then were not addressed during a lengthy deferral period and on 9th October 2013 you chose to ignore the level of community and local member objection that continued, granting approval, subject to 17 conditions! The Agent for the Applicant gave assurances his client would meet these within 3 months of that Committee.
Since then, there has been an extraordinary lack of progress in meeting conditions, particularly on the question of drainage and water supply. We have had reports on breaches of conditions on the 18th March 2015, 16th September 2015, 13th January 2016 and now next Wednesday, culminating in the extraordinary conclusion and recommendation to take no meaningful further action. I find this completely unacceptable and shall be moving disagreement to such and proposing further actions, following questioning of Officers.
I note continuing examples of omissions and inaccurate or incomplete statements from planning reports, evidenced by this latest one viz:-
• Para 1 previous committee reports and copy of planning consent are not attached.
• Para 6 at October 2013 and on the 13th January 2016 we were given the repeated mantra that connection to a mains electricity supply was being progressed with Scottish Power; it is no surprise that cost, as usual, prevents this being taken forward by these Applicants.
• Para 7 omits the timescale for “a growth project”, which Scottish Water stated in a letter to Planning Head of Service of 12th November 2015 is between 2 and 2.5 years. The community would prefer “the growth project” to be the neighbouring housing site put forward for consultation in the MIR for our LDP2.
• Para 8 makes the bald statement that water supply will arrive when foul treatment is in place, presumably then not before May 2018 at the earliest? I note SEPA objected on 1st May 2012 and again 28th January 2016 on grounds of lack of information on foul drainage and would remove same only if these issues were addressed. They have not been and currently no arrangements are in place following the refusal of CAR licences due to unsuitable ground conditions and inadequate soak away design; not mentioned in the report. This situation is a clear breach of policy EP7 under which PKC, SEPA and SNH signed a protocol on to protect Loch Leven!
• Para 10 states that landscaping is complete. This is an inaccurate statement. Site fencing under condition 15 is incomplete and has been since my note to colleagues in March 2015 and the embankment still contains litter to the east of the site.
• Para 11 states that the application to extend into the so called hardcore “paddock area” was refused on the 9th March 2016 but doesn’t state the reasons; which were policies EP3B, EP7 and RD5B(d) and which I strongly suggest appertains still to the existing site.
In conclusion, having spoken to Councillor Cuthbert, who unfortunately is away on vacation this week and cannot be present at committee, I shall be expanding on the above and posing a number of questions relating for Officers; we are both particularly concerned that were this a “normal” application, rather than one from gypsy/travellers who appear to be treated as “super developers” under our “open door” policy RD5, we would take the view that all options had been explored and given the retrospective nature of the application, the site should be vacated until conditions relating to water supply and its treatment were finalised (which would be consistent with our stated desire to protect the Loch Leven catchment and the above mentioned protocol), failing which, the planning consent should be revoked.
Councillor Mike Barnacle
Independent Member for Kinross-shire