BRAES OF THE CARSE CONSERVATION GROUP

ANNUAL REPORT  2013/14

 

This is the fifth Annual Report of BCCG and the work of the Group has now developed into four main areas consistent with our Constitution and Objectives.

1.       Strategic Planning

2.        Local Development

3.       Environment

4.       Member support

STRATEGIC PLANNING

   Much of our work in earlier years was in contributing to, and representing our members interests, in the TAYPLAN, the overall strategic plan for the wider area which includes the Braes of the Carse. The outcome was very much what we wanted with the focus for most new housing development to be around Perth and Dundee rather than in the Carse of Gowrie .However , the proposed plan is not due for publication until mid 2015 and final approval by Scottish ministers is scheduled for late 2016. Until it is approved we will monitor any publication of alterations and if necessary make further representations.

The LOCAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN which follows the strategy adopted in Tayplan was also the subject of much work from the committee and members, and again we are generally comfortable with the plans apart from the aspect of Housing in the Countryside policy (HICP).  Perth and Kinross Council reduced the number of small village and groups of houses designated as “settlements with clear boundaries for development”, with the result that any development outside these boundaries is now covered by HICP. In the past this policy has not been rigorously applied so under the new Local Plan scrutiny will be required to ensure that HICP is observed and inappropriate and ribbon development is avoided.

During 2014 we participated in the PERTH AND KINROSS LOCAL LANDSCAPE REVIEW PANEL with the objective of having our area and the west Sidlaws designated as one of the best landscapes in the area. The purposes of designation are to

·         Safeguard and enhance the character and quality of landscapes which are important or particularly valued locally.

·         Promote understanding and awareness of the distinctive character and special qualities of local landscapes ·         Safeguard and protect important settings for outdoor recreation and tourism locally

   Designation does not restrict development or automatically protect the environment but it does provide a status for the area which must be taken into account within Scottish planning policy. We are hoping for a positive recommendation for designation in the coming months.

 

 

 

LOCAL DEVELOPMENT

Bandirran

The proposed Bandirran windfarm took a lot of our attention and resources in early 2014. We succeeded in submitting a well argued objection and over 700 other objections were made. The efforts of many of our members , committee and other interested bodies e.g. Scotland Against Spin, were reflected in the quality of our objection. Our position in objecting to this proposed development reflected the views of our membership based on a near unanimous vote of the approximately 70 members who attended our last  AGM.

The current status of the application is that it is  still  being considered by the planning department. I hope that an update may be available for our AGM both on the Councils view and from the developer.

Other development applications

We are continuing to monitor planning applications in our area by co operating with Inchture Community Council and viewing the P&KC web site. We bring to members attention applications as they  are not always well publicized within the planning process, this Increased awareness is generally appreciated by our members . We have followed the policy of not commenting on minor local applications unless they have wider potential impact on our area.

We have made two objections recently which are still pending a decision by the Council and illustrate the position we take

1.       Flawcraig—an application for 11 houses.

 Our objections included   

·         Contrary to TAYplan which does not support large scale development in the Carse

·         Contrary to Housing in the Countryside policy

·         Increased traffic on the Higher Carse road which is designated for cycling and walking

 

2.       Valleyfield-an application for further storage sheds

Our objections included

·         Contrary to development plan

·         Previous enforcement orders and planning conditions had been ignored

·         Creeping commercial development north of the A90 in an area designated for agriculture awareness is generally appreciated by our members . We have followed the policy of not commenting on minor local applications unless they have wider potential impact on our area.

We have made two objections recently which are still pending a decision by the Council and illustrate the position we take

1.       Flawcraig—an application for 11 houses.

 Our objections included   

·         Contrary to TAYplan which does not support large scale development in the Carse

·         Contrary to Housing in the Countryside policy

·         Increased traffic on the Higher Carse road which is designated for cycling and walking

 

2.       Valleyfield-an application for further storage sheds

Our objections included

·         Contrary to development plan

·         Previous enforcement orders and planning conditions had been ignored

·         Creeping commercial development north of the A90 in an area designated for agriculture

 

 

 

ENVIRONMENT

Our three projects were concluded during the year and the funds allocated from the PKC Quality of Life Trust used up.

The Bird box programme has proved very successful and the ringing and fledging records have been sent to the British Trust for Ornithology by Barry Caudwell .There have been several endangered species successes including a healthy fledge of Barn Owls.

The programme of  tree planting on field edges was completed but there is a continuing need for replacement trees. Our activity, limited by funds, planted nearly 300 trees but much more needs to be done to preserve our tree lines and hedgerows.

The third programme of re establishing traditional varieties of fruit trees has also made an  impact and there is now general recognition and more activity in re establishing the orchards which have been long associated with the Carse .

These three projects were expected to be pilot activities to be followed by further funding and work under the Tay to Braes Wildlife Ways project which was included in the funding application for the Tay Landscape Partnership. The Partnership has now been launched but so  far we have not been involved but I am pleased to say that the Chief Executive of the Partnership, Shirley Paterson,has agreed to speak and explain her plans at our AGM.

 

MEMBER SUPPORT

We have established a fairly comprehensive web site www.braesofthecarse.org but already it is getting out of date and needs further work. This will be one of our priorities for the coming year as it should be dynamic in order that our membership are kept fully up to date.

We also do not want to be perceived as a  pressure group with a negative attitude that is against all development .So we are considering how we can encourage good design in the built environment and community led projects to improve the natural environment.  We hope to get the views of the membership starting at the AGM.

In conclusion I would like to thank all of our committee members and our general membership for their hard work and participation in the past year and look forward to making further progress.

 Yours, 

Malcolm McSwan,  Chairman.