Thursday, 25 September 2008

Gnats keep undermining local democracy

I highlighted a few months ago how the Gnat government in Edinburgh seemed hellbent on undermining local democracy after they called in plans for a new Asda supermarket in Inverness. I commented at the time that I couldn't see any conceivable national interest in whether Inverness had another supermarket or not.

Well, they've done it again, this time for a proposed Sainsbury's store in Nairn. Why, for crying out loud? What the hell's it got to do with any other part of the country whether there's a new superstore there?

Alex Salmond is playing a very dangerous game. If he keeps interfering in matters which are best determined locally, he'll soon find that the Scottish Government is snowed under with decisions which shouldn't really be made in Edinburgh. And he'll also find that people quite like having the chance to influence decisions, which they can't do if an arrogant politician decides that he's better placed to take the decision than elected local representatives.

The Gnats should learn to just butt out.


Anonymous said...

Um, the government ministers don't call in applications, the reporter does, independent of political interference.

Under the previous Labour/Lib Dem executive a number of planning applications were either called in, or approved after an appeal when the local authority had turned them down.

If this was such a big issue for the Libs, why didn't they remove the right of government to determine planning appeals?!?

Bernard Salmon said...

Not true, Anonymous - decisions about whether to call in applications are ministerial ones. The planning reporters then determine the application.
But the point remains: what conceivable national interest is there in whether a town gets another supermarket or not?

Bernard Salmon said...

Oh and I should say that there is a right of appeal by an applicant when a bid for planning permission has been turned down, which is why most applications get called in, but what the Gnats are doing is calling in applications even when they've been approved, which is rather different.

Anonymous said...

I think the destruction of the identity of our town centres due to the increasing prevalence of the supermarkets is very much an issue of national importance actually.

Bernard Salmon said...

So the Scottish Government should be determining every supermarket application, should it? What tosh.

Bodach said...

This application is universally popular in Nairn. Around 80% do their weekly shop elsewhere and all we have is a crap supermarket in the town centre that even the co-op is trying to get rid of. If all Nairn consumers tried to shop there on the same day there would be Northern Rock style queues for food.
It is a disaster that this application will go to a public inquiry. Nairnites had hoped that the Scottish Government would have realised that we badly need this facility as we are condemned to travel to Inverness or Forres for a choice of food that other communities take for granted. Please support us in the Public Inquiry by making submissions and maybe giving evidence if you are involved in Highland politics.
Oh and we need the 300 full and part time jobs that Sainsbury and the other 3 stores will bring too!
Support Nairn folk and we will support you!

Stephen B said...

Does anyone really know why this was called in? Serious answers only - 'cos Alex Salmond is a Thatcherite madman' etc responses not acceptable.

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