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Parliamentary debates and questions

Pow of Inchaffray Drainage Commission (Scotland) Bill Committee 07 March 2018

The agenda for the day:

Pow of Inchaffray Drainage Commission (Scotland) Bill: Consideration Stage.

Pow of Inchaffray Drainage Commission (Scotland) Bill: Consideration Stage
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The Convener (Tom Arthur)

Good morning and welcome to the second meeting in 2018 of the Pow of Inchaffray Drainage Commission (Scotland) Bill Committee. The only agenda item is consideration of a recent written submission from the bill’s promoters, following the oral evidence session at our last meeting, which was on 24 January 2018.

Members will recall that, at that meeting, the promoters acknowledged that the land plans that were submitted by them when the bill was lodged were not accurate. As the plans fundamentally underpin the bill by showing the benefited land, and therefore who should pay towards the pow’s upkeep, it is critical for them to be as accurate as possible.

At the meeting, two possible options for next steps were clarified. Under the first option, the promoters would commission Savills to redraw the land plans, using all the available information—the plans from 1846 and 1848 and the two books of reference and valuation from 1847 and 1851. The promoters also stated that they would try to gain access to a plan from 1851 that they had not seen but which was held by the National Records of Scotland. The second option was to undertake a complete new reassessment of the land, and the promoters were going to meet the Association of Drainage Authorities to explore the viability of that option. The promoters stated they would write to the committee once they had decided which option they wished to pursue.

We have now received a written submission from the promoters confirming their conclusion, following the meeting with the ADA, that the second option would be prohibitively expensive and unnecessary and that the best way forward would be the first option—in other words, Savills would be commissioned to redraw the land plans based on all the available information. The submission includes a note of the meeting with the ADA, as well as a memorandum from Jonny Willett at Savills confirming that the 1851 plan—which is actually from 1850—has now been accessed and can be used in the preparation of the new plans.

The submission also comments on the Dollerie lands issue, asks the committee for a view and confirms that the promoters are content for the bill to be amended to allow up to three Balgowan section commissioners, which gives a total of nine commissioners and a quorum of five, and that it is proposed that the retail prices index be used to link the budget in terms of the right to appeal an index-linked annual budget in excess of £60,000.

We will now address the action points that are set out in our papers. First, do members have any views on the promoters proceeding as proposed and commissioning Savills to redraw the land plans based on the available plans and books of reference?

Alison Harris (Central Scotland) (Con)

I think that that is a very positive way of moving things forward.

Mary Fee (West Scotland) (Lab)

It is a sensible approach.

The Convener

Are we content to invite the promoters to submit the new plans and explanatory report to the committee by 6 April, if possible, to give time for them to be prepared?

Members indicated agreement.

The Convener

Do we agree to invite the commission to submit an explanatory report along with the new plans detailing the points that are set out in the paper?

Members indicated agreement.

The Convener

On the Dollerie lands issue, my opinion is that it is not for the committee but for the promoters to make a determination in that respect. Do members wish to comment?

Alison Harris

I think that your opinion is absolutely correct, convener, and I agree with it.

Mary Fee

Indeed.

The Convener

Do members have any views on the promoters’ willingness to allow for three Balgowan section commissioners?

Mary Fee

It is a sensible way forward and, in any case, it is what the residents had asked for. It is a good approach.

The Convener

It certainly represents progress.

Do members have any comments on the promoters’ intention to use the RPI to index-link the budget for the purposes of an individual right to appeal an annual budget in excess of £60,000?

Mary Fee

I agree with the approach.

Alison Harris

As do I.

The Convener

If there are no other matters that the committee wishes to discuss, I thank members for attending. The clerk will communicate the outcomes to the promoters.

At its next meeting, the date of which will be determined in due course and communicated on the Parliament’s website, the committee will consider the new land plans and the accompanying draft report.

Meeting closed at 10:09.