In a first for Highland Council, the site of a problematic planning application could be surveyed by drone, sparing the council the costs of a multi-councillor site visit.
North Planning Applications committee chairwoman Maxine Smith has requested a drone survey of a site in Armadale where the applicant has jumped the gun in preparing ground before his planning application had been granted.
The applicant, Mr I Barnes, wants to install a residential static caravan with composting toilet, install a surface/grey water soakaway and temporary storage containers and obtain a partial change of use of the land for two yurts for seasonal accommodation.
He has already created two bunded sites for the yurts and cleared a turning and livestock handling area, as well as placing a large number of old tyres on the site.
Councillor Margaret Paterson called the site a mess, a complete ‘bùrach’.
Councillor Raymond Bremner said he had many regrets about the way the applicant had gone about matters.
He said: “The applicant has chosen not to think he needs planning permission. I have doubts about his intentions.”
Councillor Angela Maclean said: “The applicant has had a disregard for the neighbours and little respect for the land. What comes to mind is the saying, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but in this case the neighbours are very close.”
Maxine Smith said she too harboured doubts about the application, and proposed that the decision be deferred pending a site visit, or preferably drone footage to see the impact of the development and unapproved work so far on the site.
She said: “Why can’t council provide a drone, we can ask, planning must move on with technology. We’ve never done it before.
“I think we would get a better aerial view, which is not available from a site meeting and save money.”
The decision was deferred pending drone footage or a site visit. Mrs Smith also asked for a business plan for the future of the site and its management.