Scotblogs Awards 2010 : Top 10 politicians

I am very grateful to have been placed 7th in the ScotBlogs Awards 2010 for Politicians.  My colleague Paul Johnston came in 9th (very unfair as he works harder than I do).  Congratulations to Paul for 5th for Hyperlocal.

And now I get 4th on th Env/Green blogs.

I am delighted that the Democratic Independent Group on Aberdeenshire Council has gained this recognition for our own brand of open and honest engagement on the issues. 

Thank you!

Ocean Lab 2

Congratulations to Aberdeen University on the offical opening of Ocean Lab 2 at Newburgh. 

I attended the opening this morning and benefited from a guided tour.  Thanks to Daniel for an explanation of some of the strands of work underway and Alan for a tour of the technologies.  (And apologies to both for forgetting their surnames - please take this as an expression of friendliness)

Some of the facilities are used by the north sea industry for testing.  A vessel capable on simulating the pressures 7km deep in the ocean, mean of testing the types of sudden drop in termperatures from the tropics to the deep sea and a serious vibration plate are available for commercial use - and the business sdie of the oepration subsidises the research that covers a wide range of issues. 

And the new building is lovely - graound source heating and what must be the best view from a workplace coffee room anywhere.

Auditor asked to look into Menie land deal

I have asked Audit Scotland to investigate whether Aberdeenshire Council is failing in its statutory duty to get the best possible value from the sale of Council owned land at Menie to Trump - refusing all other bidders.

I opposed the sale of this land to Trump and the rejection of other bidders.  I argued that the only way anyone can know that the best price is realised is via an open competition.   However seven other councillors were determined to sell to Trump and I fear that this will be at a much lower price than if an open process had been used.

Writing to the Council's external auditor, I have asked for the matter to be investigated urgently and cite section 74(2) of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 as requiring councils to only accept offer that are "the best that can ... reasonably be obtained"

Update: Audit Scotland will be investigating further and reporting on the matter as part of the 2009/10 audit.

Picture: Cllrs Martin Ford and Debra Storr at disputed land

ScotBlog nomination

I am flattered to have been nominated  for a ScotBlogs 2010 Award especially as this blog has only been running since March 2009. 

There is a wide range of blogs nominated so please do browse the nomination list - you never know who else you'll find.  It was fun!

Voting in the Scotblog Awards is open until Wednesday 27th January at 8pm.

Research into Masterplanning

Camilla Klemme is a final undergraduate at Edinburgh University studying Geography. She is doing a thesis on: How Sustainable is Sustainable Development in the case of Ellon?

She will be asking the councillors and the community council for their views but I offered to see if anyone else wanted to comment via this blog and she is delighted at the idea.    If you'd like to comment, please copy the questions below into an email and email your responses back to Camilla at (not to me!).  You only need answer questions you are comfortable with - just leave any question you don't want to answer blank.

To Camilla,

and How long you have lived in Ellon?  

Sustainable Development –

KEY QUESTION: What is your understanding of sustainable development/sustainable community development?

2 Are you a strong supporter of Sustainable Development?

3 Do you think the sustainable urbanism project of Ellon is sustainable?

Achieving Sustainable Community Development/Community involvement –

Housing –
Do you feel there is a need for more mixed/affordable housing in Ellon?

Aims of the Princes Foundation for the Built Environment (PFBE) – Ellon:

  • Do you feel it has made a positive change in the design and planning?

  • That the architecture is sensitive to traditions and history of Ellon?

  • That it will increase the quality of life of the residents?

  • That a sense of place is created?

KEY QUESTION: The PFBE has been accused of being a private lobbying firm/ not being a responsible charity…what are you views on this?

Aims of Scotia/SCD –

3 areas –

  • Cromleybank, south of the River Ythan – to include a new high street and several other key amenities that are needed for village life.

  • The Town Centre – small re-workings of the existing town centre to create better connections, more parking facilities and improved services.

  • Castleton and the Castle Gardens – the focus of this development aims to create a continuous link between the north of Ellon and the town centre, seamlessly blending into the existing character and fabric of the town. Revenue from this development will allow the beautiful hidden Castle Gardens, right in the heart of Ellon, to be re-opened to the public, creating a magnificent attraction right in the centre of town.

Castleton – Aims:

1 Walkable communities
2 Connected spaces (rid cul-de-sac)
3 Public places
3 Mixing it up (housing)
4 Visual variety (housing)
5 Local first (traditional development)

3 Sustianbale Community Development (what does it involve) –

Do you believe this will –

1 Meets the needs of all existing and future resources for Ellon?

2 Contributes to a higher quality of life?

3 Offers appropriate ladders of opportunity for households advancement, either locally or through external connection?)
4 Limits adverse external effects on the environment, society and economy?

Against Sustainable Development:

KEY QUESTION: Wildlife is being destroyed…. Is it then fair to say that this is sustainable development? What are your views?

2 Do you feel you will use your car less/walk or bicycle more?
3 Do you fell that new housing development will just increase the population and car use/increase Ellon’s use as being a commuter village?

Community Engagement?

KEY QUESTION: Has the sustainable community development of Ellon involved an integrated approach of community participation, partnership and engagement with urban professionals?

2 Do you believe that the Enquiry by Design process (of Scotia homes and PFBE) has sufficiently and successfully involved and integrated the views and ideas of the community of Ellon?

3 Do you feel you that you have had adequate power in the planning and development process of Ellon? That conflicts of interest have been identified discussed and changed?
4 Do you think the open workshops/public forums/engagement process has been a success?

5 Do you feel that the developers have put the community first in the decision making process?

KEY QUESTION: Do you believe that the new community of Ellon will be welcomed by the old community?

Press/Alliance for lobbying transparency –

KEY QUESTION: They have slated sustainable community development as a form of ‘greenwashing/green bling’…that it is just a dusted down scheme to enable more property development… do you have anything to say about this?

Planning Alerts is back!

Delightfully, given my motion to Council yesterday, I can now advise that Planning Alerts is back up and running!

Today I got the first results


Demolition of Culterty House and Outbuildings and Erection of Residential Development of 10 Houses and 9 Flats with relative amenities and parking

If you are interested in planning applications submitted near you, please go and set up an alert.  You just need to give email address and a postcode and decide on an area of search.

You now (sadly) only have 21 days to response to applications so this is the best way to keep on top of what is going on and making your voice heard.

Open Data, Open Systems

Aberdeenshire Council took forward for detailed consideration a move to make its data more accessible to people that I proposed. It was a pity support wasn't warmer on the day that saw the launch of

My motion called on the Council to make data available in common data formats so that individuals and intersested parties can reuse this information and combine information togather in any way they chose.

The BBC recently used data on serious road accidents to publish interactive maps of accident blackspots and other public bodies are embracing the "Open Data, Open Systems" concept.

I start from the principle that the data a council holds belongs to all of us and therefore should be shared.  There are lots of examples across the world of public bodies making their data available and in the UK, these moves are supported by the Cabinet Office and councils are starting to catch on.  Kent dubs their initiative "Pic and Mix" and I like the idea of making data available for people to use.

This can also save Councils money.  Making it easy for people to access data can save councils from building systems themselves.  PlanningAlerts is used by thousands of people to be notified of nearby planning applications - without the expense of Councils building their own system.    This gaves much better service to the public than trawling through weekly lists. is another initiative that enable citizens to find and contact their elected representatives.  Let's make it easy for these systems to grow to meet public demand rather than building everything ourself and paying to do so.

Word of the day : Monopsody
Council land to be sold to Trump

In economics, a monopsony (from Ancient Greek μόνος (monos) "single" + ὀψωνία (opsōnia) "purchase") is a market form in which only one buyer faces many sellers. It is an example of imperfect competition, similar to a monopoly, in which only one seller faces many buyers. As the only purchaser of a good or service, the "monopsonist" may dictate terms to its suppliers in the same manner that a monopolist controls the market for its buyers.

Today Aberdeenshire Councild decided to make Donald Trump a monopsony*.

On a vote of 7 to 3, Formartine Area Committee decided today to reject 7 other interested parties and negotiate to sell a small piece of land to Trump.

If you reject all possible purchasers but one, you have no way of knowing that the price you get is the highest possible. And Aberdeenshire Council does not have a reputation as a tough negotiator with Trump.   

I argued for an open process and let the highest bid win.  Logically that highest bid should have been Trump.  The land, if it is key to the development, is worth more to Trump than anyone else.   But my colleagues with the honorable exceptions of Cllr Paul Johnston and Cllr Davidson, are simply happy to sell to Trump.  Frankly the numbers mooted in the surveyors report don't sound large to me.

Why we must trip up Trump from Adam Proctor on Vimeo.

I also worry that the value put on this land will somehow impact the value put on my constituent's houses if - and I sincerely hope sense prevails well before we get that far - if CPOs are even used.

 * I've wanted to use the word monopsody for years and never before came even close to having a chance!


It seems that the report into the sales of land at Menie was leaked to various newspapers.  And weirdly the council decided to publish much of the material that I argued could have been debated in public itself after the meeting.

And two journalists who would regard me as a friendly source complained to me that they hadn't got a copy of the report.

For the record, when I was consulted on the report some weeks ago, I asked that the report be split into two - one part that could be debated in public about process and one that would need to be private taking about value and bidders.  Today, I moved deferral so we could have these two reports this morning.   I tried ....

No doubt there will be an investigation into the leaks.  Last time the focus of an investigation as to who had leaked a memo about Menie that was sent to all 68 councillors focused oddly on Cllrs Merson, Davidson, Owen and myself.  Will the investigation this time reveal anything useful? 

I donlt think there was anything in the debate today that couldn't have been done in public.   It would have been so much simpler if the my colleagues had simply decided to debate matters of legitimate public interest in public. 

Disagree with me if you will, colleagues.  But have the grace to do it in public - and then you can be properly accountable to the public. 

Standards for windows.

Formartine Area Committee actually brought themselves to agree with Cllr Paul Johnston and I today!

We argued that it was disgraceful that the standards for replacement windows in Sheltered Housing just barely met building regulations while the council put better windows that woudl reduce heating costs into other properties. I want the highest standards in both!  But is is very important to put low u-value windows into properties occupied by some of the most vulnerable people in society.  This reduce their fuel bills in future helping achieve reduction in fuel poverty aims as well as reducing CO2 emissions.

After some resistance, the committee finally agreed to raise the matter with Social Work and Housing.  Thanks to Cllrs Duncan and Davidson for chipping in.

I put down my marker now - if standards are not improved, I will be voting to reject contracts in future.

Main Issues: Enabling Development, Protection of Nature Conservation Sites, Landscape Character, Historic Environment, Safeguarding Resources - Water, Agricultural Land, Woodland, Transport Facilities, Employment Land, Oil and Gas Sites, Mineral, Wind Farms.

A final run at this .... again, if you can get comments to me by 20th,that would be helpful.  The Formartine Area Committee will be discussing on 27th January.

Enabling Development: permited for retaining a Listed Building or (newpolicy) start-up of employment, leisure, tourism in Regeneration Priority Area
Protection of Nature Conservation Sites: These water down protection in the current plan.  The plan will include a list of designated sites at International, National and Local levels, lists of protected species under EU and British Law and Local Priority Habitats and Species, and Geological Conservation review sites.  Others are better placed than I to review these.
Landscape Character: Recognises the value of our landscapes and introduces Valued Views (list provided).
Historic Environment:  There is Supplementary Guidance for Listed Buildings, Conservation AReas, Historic Gardens and Designed Landscapes, and Archeological sites and Ancient Monuments.    The polices are good and I welcome a requirement for development in Conservation Areas to be for Full Planning Permission.
Safeguarding Resources - Water, Agricultural Land, Woodland, Transport Facilities, Employment Land, Oil and Gas Sites, Mineral, Wind Farms.  This policy covers a lot of ground!  The policy of water trys to ensure than water quality, flooding, ecology and flood plans are properly considered.  There is a presumption to retaining the best quality agricultural land.  Trees and Woodlands not covered by TPOs gain some protection as are routes that may be useful for future transport (including paths) and other transport infrastructure.  A new presumption to retaining employment land in employment use.  St Fergus is recognised as special for oil and gas development and other developments will be resisted.  Land for mineral development is safeguarded in Areas of Search (see maps) and there are also areas of search for large windfarms and landfill sites

The extension into enabling development to support almost any for of economic activity is interesting.   There is Supplementary Guidance to limit this to where the public benefit outweighs the disbenefits of breaching public policy, and limits the scale to 5 houses or fewer.   We have had problems with developers selling of parts of the development and then finding they don't after all have sufficient funds to restore a listed building and therefore coming back for more.  The "prferably to be developed in full by the developer" is therefore welcome.   I do worry that the test is too easy - of course Trump was allowed 500 houses of enabling development at Menie - a long way from the regeneration areas and that proposal would have been a different matter in an area of high unemployment.

I have to be a bit of a cynic on the Nature Conservation Sites policies: they have been badly breached and now they say that that's fine.  It's not.  

On Resources, there is a lot of ground here.  I welcome the presumption that trees and woodland should be preserved even when not coverd by TPOs - with changes to and reviews of TPOs, this is sorely needed.  And the retention of employment land as such is very important - losing employment land to residential development has been an issue and we need to ensure we have residential and employment uses in our villages.
It'll be interesting to see the map for Area of Search for Minerals -and Landfills.

MPs expenses

OK - we all had good fun about this.  But now we have the final proposals for change. Do look and respond - you can do it online and it's well presented to make it easy.

I'm pretty comfortable with most of it except

MPs should not be allowed to "exploit" the system for personal gain.  Much damage was done by the "but it was within the rules" whinging of MPs.  It needs to be clear that claims should be within the spirit of the rules.

And all details must be published by the authorities as they are submitted (or as reasonably practical thereafter).  This is the best assurance that we can have that claims in future will be reasonable.

I think that the transitional arrangements are too long - up to 5 years.  MPs jobs should be insecure and if they make long term arrangements, they should take the risk.  Over to you ....

Main Issues: Flooding and Erosion, Hazardous Development, Contaminated Land, Carbon Neutrality in New Developments, Developer Contributions

Hopefully last but one lap - comments by 20/1/10 appreciated.

Flooding and Erosion : Stronger policy for both coastal and watercourse threats.  1:200 years limit for residential, commercial and key infrastructure.   5m and 10m countours considered for Flood.  Impact of hardened surfaces on flooding elsewhere considered.

Hazardous Development: talks about pollution, flooding, nuisance and hazard - restricting such new sources and development sround existing sources.
Contaminated Land: Talks about assessement and remediation.
Carbon Neutrality in New Developments: 30% below 2007 standards increasing to 60% by 2012, 90% by 2014 and 100% by 2016.  Lots of additional information re definitions and methods to achieve..  Off site permissible for Conservation Areas etc.

Developer Contributions: Appendix will include details of specific contributions required against major sites.    Individual sets talking about Access, Water and Drainage (cf SUDS), Waste Management.

Often pretty technical stuff but useful to be specific about Access (maintenance of such can be an issue), water but I can;t see anything that will help us ensure maintenance of SUDS schemes.  It'll be interesting to see how Carbon Neutrality pans out!

Aberdeenshire Council now honest - no action on climate change

Aberdeenshire Council today decided not to sign up to 10:10.  My colleague Cllr Paul Johnston could not even get a seconder for other LibDems, the Tories or the SNP.   I understand that members of Policy and Resources felt that the Council couldn't make the minimum commitment of a 3% reduction in 2010 - and a reduction of 10% from their own baseline.

This is disappointing.

Aberdeenshire Council made good progress in reducing CO2 emissions in the early years of its commitments but reduction have since slowed.  A report to Scrutiny and Audit in December showed
  • the reduction in emissions over 3 years for Building and Property has been 3%, of which 2.9% was in the first year. 
  • the reduction of emission from waste to landfill has decreased by 15.4% but only 1.4% reduction has been achieved in the past year.
  • emissions from street lightling were static or slowing increasing initally but have grown by 5.2% over the past year
  • emissions from business mileage has increased every year and are now 5% higher than the base year.
However the Council was happy to support Earth Hour and issued a press release in support of 10:10.

Now one of the reasons I left the Liberal Democrats and joined the Greens was the gross disparity being saying and doing.  It looks like I was right.  LibDem* controlled Aberdeenshire likes to sign Climate Change Charters but when it comes to making commitments to deliver - nothing.  

*Cllr Paul Johnston is a LibDem but not part of the ruling Administration.  He is therefore excempt from criticism.

Haiti Earthquake appeal

This poor country has now been devastated by and earthquake.  The Red Cross has launched an appeal - More details.

Union Terrace Gardens

It is with some trepidation that I comments on this - but as folk in the City had no inhibitions on commenting on Menie, I'll put in my tuppenth-worth.

I have carefully looked at all the material on The City Square website and also the Peacock Arts Proposals.  A useful comparison can be found at CompareTheSquare.  You may also be interested to read the Supplementary Planning Guidance Aberdeen City Council has already agreed for Bon Accord Quarter and put this in the overall context of the City Centre.  The Masterplan proposals had over 70% approval ratings.

My initial reaction to the Ian Wood suggestion for UTG was fairly open minded with some concern that this was another grand project.  However  I recognise that Union Terrace Gardens are under-used but the Peacosk Arts proposals seemed set to take care of that.

The actual details of the Ian Wood proposals are rather thin.  £50m from Sir Ian (presumably his investment not a gift).  But what other funds would be needed and from where.  The City Square website says it would not be taken from public services.  I assume that means no on-going revenue commitment but it leaves open the question of capital.  And just what does it consist of?  Parking, shops, public art, public open space.  My other job is in the IT industry and we have a term for stuff that sounds like a good idea but doesn't exist - vapourware. 

And how much does Aberdeen need more car parking and shopping with Union Square just opened and the general proposals in Bon Accord?  I also worry that the Union Square to Bon Accord axis is killing the shops on Union Street and George St.

So we have a choice - the Peacock Arts proposals in the hand - or Ian Wood's proposals in the bush.

I think that the way forward is Peacock Arts - This Time, This Place, This Generation - delivered.

Please do complete the CitySquare consultation questionnaire and if you want to save Union Terrace Gardens and the new Arts Centre, also complete the online petition.  I was the 4276th signatory.

Main Issues: Masterplanning; Layout, Siting & Design; Public Open Space; Public Access; Community Facilities

This is all about building in quality design to new developments - all the way from how a development relates to its surroundings to the deatil of individual buildings.  This is a hugely complex subject ....

Masterplanning of large developments : New requirement for development frameworks, masterplans and/or development briefs for large and medium sized developments.  Community engagement highlighted.  Differing requirements according to scale.  Very large < 600, Large 50 to 600 houses, Medium 5 -49 houses.
Layout, Siting and Design of New Development: Reference to masterplans and designs briefs and also assessments against Urban Design Toolkit (PAN 67), Manual for Streets, and Index 21.  Design Panel to advise on important design cases.
House Extensions: protection of amenity of area.
Infill development: OK subject to protection of character and amenity of area and important open space/woodland.
Public Open Space: Reference to Open Space Strategy and specific requirements for hierarchy of developments: 40% Major, 120m sq per dwelling, or 40 m sq for land previously allocated.  Protection of open space from development with exceptions.
Public Access: Connection to existing non motorised access routes highlighted.  If Core path or existing path, maintenance of it or replacement.  Mention of access to water.
Community Facilities: Principles governing adequate provision and requirements for developer contributions towards such.

I like the emphasis on masterplanning and design.  I strongly believe this leads to better development but it all depends on the "teeth" given - will we refuse purely on such grounds and will it stand up on appeal?
Not sure why developments in the Local plan have lower requirement for Public Space than others in Local Plan.  Rules change all the time ....
Good to see Public Access higher up the priorities.  Would like more emphasis on encouragement for walking/cycling rather than car use as part of the Design principles.

Comments by 20th Jnuary, please ...

More awards for Donald Trump

Private Eye's Rotten Borough Awards for 2009 have now been announced and Donald Trump has gained Brass Neck Award cited as to
"toupeed tycoon Donald Trump and his lackey George Sorial" for asking Aberdeenshire Council to use CPOs to remove local residents "to make way for a vulgar housing development and golf course which will forever ruin a pristine stretch of sand-duned coast".
Particular congratulations to George for featuring - part of the title of this blog is his gift to me.  Don't worry, Neil, Sarah, Ann, etc - I recognise your contribution.

Donald Trump will have been disappointed by his 98th place in the BBC's "Most Annoying People of 2009" awards also given in recognition of his demands for CPOs.

Also belated congratulations for Donald's place in the New Stateman's Top 20 Green Villians list.  The citation runs: -
"Money bags The billionaire Donald Trump attracted the ire of conservationists when he set his sights on remote Aberdeenshire in Scotland. In 2006 he announced plans to build a 2,000-acre, $1bn golf course and luxury resort, billed as the "great­est" in the world, on a coastline featuring sand dunes protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest. He claimed that "environmentalists supported us" and "the locals were ecstatic", but faced opposition from the RSPB and the local council, which initially rebuffed his advances. After much legal wrangling (and a personal intervention by the First Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond), Trump gained planning permission in October."
The decision to allow the development was awarded a Pock Mark for Worst Planning Decision in Scottish Architecture's 2008 Carbuncle Awards.

Is there a trend here?

Will Donald ever get back to the dizzy heights of when in 2007, the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., was the first recipient of the Metropolitan Golf Association Environmental Award (best on six criteria from around 280 MGA members)?


We have had a long period of very bad weather and it is set to continue for another week at least.  Aberdeenshire Council has quite rightly concentrated resources on keeping the main routes clear and gritted.  After all, there is little point in being able to get out of your street/side road if the main routes are blocked.  So can we please say a big thank you to the staff who have been working long hours to keep routes open - and re-open blocked roads.

And can I also thank drivers for being sensible and the police for ordering road closures when necessary.  In contrast to stories from England of motorists getting stuck and abandoning cars, drivers have been pretty sensible and this helps keep the roads clear (imagine driving an HGV plough/gritter through a chicane of abandoned cars).

Council workers have also been trying to keep pavements clear - and as with roads this has been a uphill battle.  Most people have realised that the council workers are doing their best.  But with this amount of snow, a little bit of help from frontagers would be appreciated.  Please try to break up hard packed snow/ice and put sand, ashes, salt, - even cat litter - on it to give a little grip and help break up the surface further.

And finally, please do look out for each other.  If you can pick up a few things for the shops for your neighbour, then that is a nice thing to do and may save an unpleasant trip out.  If your neighbour is struggling with getting out in these conditions, you could be a life saver.

Useful numbers:
Elderly or vulnerable and afraid to turn your heating up during this cold spell? Call the Home Heat Helpline for advice 0800 33 66 99
For help in reducing future bills call Energy Saving Trust on 0800 512 012

Main Issues: Housing, 2007-2016, 2017-2023 and early draw down, Affordable Housing, Other Special Housing incl Special Needs, Residential Caravans, Traveller and Gypsy Sites.

In terms of the volume of housing, most of the decisions have already been made in the  

Housing Land Supply : follows Structure Plan but "to assist in long term masterplanning of development areas beyond 2023 ... may bring forward site specific supplementary planning guidance for periods beyond 2023".  20% housing due to be delivered in via Countryside policies with other 80% in allocated sites in settlements.  Attempt to address an issue that has arisen of plots being developed for more houses than originally envisaged via masterplanning/design briefs and justifications.    Provision to bring forward to maintain 7 year supply.
Affordable Housing : The plan maintains 25% requirements for affordable (read subsidised) housing and encourages a mix of house types and integration with non affordable housing.  (Hurrah!)   However there are some get out clauses which could mean less provision or provision off site or provision via Low Cost Home Ownership rather than for rent.
Special Needs : there are new policies to deal with 3 type.  Residential caravans are discouraged except as temporary arranagements. Special needs housing is accepted and most types are encouraged to be within or at edge of settlements.  However there is explicit provision for "continuing care retirement communities" (CCRC) outside settlement.  The need for Traveller and Gypsy sites is recognised.   

There are no great surprises as this has to follow the Structure Plan which is available as a pdf, in rtf or as an MP3 audio file. I was worried about the sheer scale of the allocation overall and in particular in the Blackdog - Ellon corridor but we are where we are.   I can understand why there is concern about over-development of sites but in general, if the design is good, it is better to try to achieve higher densities which mean more people can live closer to shops, bus routes and other services - and we lose less valuable farmland to development.
While there is some progress for improvement in affordable housing, I still worry that some developers will try to get out of on-site provision and there is enough wriggle room in policy for this.  I also note that the rule allowing the additional of 3 houses at the edge of rural settlements is just below the 25% threshold - perhaps making slightly larger extensions that gave more scope for some affordable housing provision would be better.
Continuing care retirement communities outside settlements does not fits well with other policies.  Visitors, staff and others servicing such facilities will need to travel and this seems to me to go against other policies aimed at reducing the need to travel and encouraging use of public transport.  I also worry about isolating groups from the wider community.
The policy on Gypsy and Traveller site indicates that there will be sites allocated specifically for this need.  We will see later where these sites are.  Other sites could be allocated according to need.  In all cases, there are requirements for sites not to "appreciably detract from the character and appearance of the area" not "significantly detract from the amenity currently enjoyed."    This will be a challenge to us all to achieve but I see no need for such sites to be a blot if we work with the users on design to fit everyone's needs.

Over to you - comments back by 20th please.