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26/07/13 10:45

Western Isles economy

Planning Minister says stronger focus on recovery required.

Planning Minister Derek Mackay is in Stornoway today (July 26) to meet with front line planning staff.

Speaking ahead of his visit, the Planning Minister stressed that the people of the Western Isles deserve a high performing, modern planning system that places a stronger focus on economic recovery.

While in Stornoway, Mr Mackay will meet with convener of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Councillor Angus Campbell to discuss Our Islands Our Future and the unique needs of the islands.

He will also meet with the convener, chairman and leader of the planning committee and frontline planning staff to underline the importance of improving the performance of Scotland’s planning system.

In addition, Mr Mackay will visit Stornoway Port Authority to discuss plans for the future opening up of the North East Passage across the Arctic for cargo vessels, as well as meet members of the Community and Land Ownership group to discuss the Empowerment and Renewal Bill.

Commenting on his visit to the Western Isles, Mr Mackay said:

“The Scottish Government is determined that our islands continue to support vibrant communities with attractive places to live and thriving businesses.

“Planning plays a vital role in facilitating this. The third National Planning Framework and draft Scottish Planning Policy, as well as the independent Town Centre Review give significant weight to the economic benefit of proposed developments, particularly the creation of new jobs.

“The Western Isles is enriched by a high quality environment and many special places to live in and visit. During my visit I am meeting with those at the front line, who deal with planning issues on a daily basis. It is important that they maintain a high level of performance; our people deserve no less.

“Future planning decisions should be given significant weight to the economic benefit of the proposed developments, particularly the creation of new jobs.”