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Scotland round-up: fracking, skiing proposal

Words: Roger Milne

A summary of planning news in Scotland: August 12-18

Shop vacancy rates pose major problem for Scottish high streets

About 70 per cent of vacant shops in a third of Scotland’s cities and towns have remained empty for more than a year, according to a report.

Scotland: Retailing in the Top 100 Cities and Towns found that Inverness has the highest vacancy rate of all Scottish cities at 18 per cent – while small towns such as Banff and Huntly have vacancy rates in excess of 30 per cent.

Scottish government objects to drilling proposals

The Scottish government is formally objecting to UK government proposals which would remove the right of householders to object to oil and gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing beneath their homes. The proposals from the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change will allow companies to drill below people’s land without first negotiating a right of access.

Scottish government

National centre for 'natural hazard' events

Scotland’s resilience capabilities will be boosted by a new national centre in Dumfries that will help improve responses to issues such as flooding. The new centre, situated at Crichton Campus, will also act as a national hub, coordinating work to understand how best communities and others can prepare for an anticipated increase in natural hazard events as a result of climate change.

Scottish government

Aberdeen homes gets green light

A 3,000-home development for Aberdeen has been recommended for approval by city council planning officers. Countesswells Consortium's proposal is earmarked for a 214-hectare site between Kingswells and Cults to the west of Hazlehead Park. It is expected that 25 per cent of the homes will be affordable.

BBC News

Dualling scheme on schedule

Scotland’s transport minister Keith Brown has insisted that the “mammoth” £3 billion dualling of the A9 remains on schedule as he announced that consultancy Jacobs had won a £40-60 million design contract for the 32-mile section between Pass of Birnham, near Dunkeld, and Glen Garry, north of the House of Bruar shopping complex.

BBC News

All year skiing proposed at Lochaber

The oldest winter sports resort in Scotland is planning to offer all-year-round skiing now that a proposal for a dry slope at the Glencoe mountain resort at Lochaber has been lodged with the Highland Council.

The Scotsman

Edinburgh gets new park

The first new park in Edinburgh for 15 years has been opened. Former residents and families of workers from the area gathered to celebrate the completion of Buttercup Farm Park, created on the site of one of the city’s most successful poultry farms.

City of Edinburgh Council