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Coul Links an election issue

By Caroline McMorran

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A HOLYROOD hopeful has cited the Scottish Government’s refusal to sanction consent for Coul Links golf course, when it was already supported by the local authority, as evidence of a “rotten planning system”.

Struan Mackie is standing in the May 6 Scottish elections.
Struan Mackie is standing in the May 6 Scottish elections.

Cllr Struan Mackie, the Conservative candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross in the Scottish Parliament elections on May 6, said that in the last four years, hundreds of local planning decisions across the constituency had been overturned by unelected Scottish Government officials.

He claimed the Conservatives were committed to a “return to local decision-making and a halt to the endless centralisation from communities”.

Cllr Mackie said: “The number of local planning decisions overturned is evidence of a rotten planning system. Popular developments such as East Sutherland’s Coul Links were called in by Scottish Ministers, a move that prevented the creation of vital jobs in the county.

“It was a decision in stark contrast to the countless onshore wind developments that were forced upon communities without their consent, in many cases owned by large foreign firms with no local presence.

“When local decisions are made by elected councillors, all of which will belong to the region and understand the local impact, I find it unacceptable that the Scottish Government has the power to come in and tell local communities that they know better.

“We’re committed to ending the scandal of the Scottish Government overruling local decisions which has left communities with no trust in a planning system that keeps letting them down.”

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