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Caithness News Bulletins January 2004

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MURKLE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT GETS GO-AHEAD FROM HIGHLAND COUNCILLORS 28 Jan 04

Members of The Highland Councilís Planning, Development, Europe and Tourism Committee at Council headquarters in Inverness today upheld a decision made by the Caithness Area Planning, Development, Europe and Tourism Committee on 8 December 2003 to remove the condition of agricultural occupancy on a dwelling house which was earlier granted planning permission with the agricultural occupancy condition attached to it in December 2002 by Caithness councillors.

Current Council planning policy recommends that housing development on agricultural land close to the main settlements in Highland should only be granted with the condition attached that occupancy of properties should only be by people employed and working in agricultural.

Members heard today how the applicants of the dwelling house development at Earnyhillock, Valleyview, Murkle near Thurso had progressed construction of a property with planning permission granted with an agricultural occupancy condition attached only to find at a much later stage that previously expected mortgage support was not forthcoming. The agricultural occupancy condition attached to the planning permission was given as the reason for withdrawal of mortgage support.

Members voted 11 to 10 to uphold the decision of the Caithness committee to deviate from the Councilís policy and remove the condition of agricultural occupancy attached to the planning permission granted on the property at Earnyhillock.

Members took this decision now reflecting upon the particular circumstances but will be having a wider look at their policy in the light of the publication of a Scottish Executive consultation paper on Rural Development on which views are sought by mid April.