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Caithness Klics given go-ahead for plans after concerns aired

By John Davidson

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Pat Ramsay, vice-chairperson of Caithness Klics, welcomed the decision.
Pat Ramsay, vice-chairperson of Caithness Klics, welcomed the decision.

A charity's bid to improve its facilities has been approved despite concerns that the plans would reduce the size of a turning area in a cul-de-sac.

A number of residents of Macleod Road in Wick had claimed the proposal by young carers' project Caithness Klics ā€“ which involved repositioning a gate at its new base ā€“ would "cause a major problem" for car owners as well as delivery vehicles and emergency services.

The charity plans to alter the entrance and boundary, erect an office building and site a storage container at the former Playbox Playgroup in Macleod Road.

Members of Highland Council's north planning applications committee were first asked by officials to grant the application at an online meeting on August 10. However, a motion by Councillor Raymond Bremner (Wick and East Caithness) to defer the application was carried by eight votes to four, with a request that plans were submitted showing the reinstatement of the gate in its original position.

However, the applicant refused to amend the application, and a report before Tuesday's north planning applications committee stated: "Following the deferral of the application, the above request was discussed with the agent and applicant who have advised that they do not wish to alter the submitted plans.

"In doing so they have noted that they do not believe there is any planning or legal grounds for forcing the charity to move the gate back as requested in order to provide a turning head for anyone coming up Macleod Road. The agent further notes that if Highland Council Members believe a turning head is required on safety grounds then such a requirement is one for the council to fulfil rather than requiring this on private ground.

"The charity remain committed to providing a safe and secure environment for their cared for children and therefore confirm the submitted plans will not be amended."

The council's transport officials agreed with this stance and the report added: "There is no legal basis in which Klics should be required to maintain turning space within its grounds.

"Furthermore, even in its revised position, there remains sufficient space for a car to comfortably turn and a larger vehicle albeit available space is reduced."

The report recommended approval of the application, which the committee granted.

An open meeting was held last Thursday prior to the planning meeting in which residents and local councillors were invited to discuss their concerns.

Pat Ramsay, the charity's vice-chairperson, welcomed the decision at this week's planning applications committee.

"Iā€™m delighted that our planning application has been approved," she said.

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