Re­lent­less push risks spe­cial sites

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - FEATURES -

“Plan­ning of­fi­cials face sim­i­lar crit­i­cism for ap­pear­ing to cave in un­der re­lent­less on­slaught”

It is a fa­mil­iar bat­tle cry from ob­jec­tors to plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions across the north and north-east – that de­vel­op­ers are “rid­ing roughshod” over a mul­ti­tude of cul­tural and com­mu­nity con­cerns. De­vel­op­ers are not the only tar­get. Even plan­ning of­fi­cials face sim­i­lar crit­i­cism for ap­pear­ing to cave in un­der re­lent­less on­slaught from com­mer­cial in­ter­ests. The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment, of course, has been on the re­ceiv­ing end of some of the harsh­est at­tacks for ap­pear­ing to bend the rules to break­ing point to pave the way for wind tur­bines, and their ques­tion­able suc­cess rate in terms of out­put. Now the boss of the Na­tional Trust for Scot­land has joined the fray by us­ing the same phrase­ol­ogy, and warns of im­pend­ing “dis­as­ter” fac­ing many of Scot­land’s sen­si­tive her­itage sites and those of spe­cial sci­en­tific in­ter­est. Chief ex­ec­u­tive Si­mon Skin­ner warns that we do not have to look much far­ther than Cul­lo­den bat­tle­field to see what can hap­pen when de­vel­op­ers spot a chink in the ar­mour. The his­toric site has been ear­marked for a flurry of plans. He makes a chal­leng­ing ob­ser­va­tion: that the con­stant claims that many of these con­tro­ver­sial pro­pos­als will bring eco­nomic pros­per­ity ob­scure cul­tural and eco­nomic dam­age to his­toric sites which of­ten fol­lows. Once the dam­age has been done, it is hard to go back.

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