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February 22, 2017

Process is important

Scotland’s common good remains a relatively unexplored hinterland. The Community Empowerment Act gives it a passing mention, placing a requirement on each council to keep a record of whatever common good assets they hold. And that’s no small matter – recent estimates suggest the value of Scotland’s common good is as much as £300m. The disposal of common good assets is supposed to involve much greater transparency and higher levels of community approval than normal.  Those communities fighting to save Dundee’s famous Caird Park would happily settle for a bit of what passes elsewhere as ‘normal’.


Cllr Jimmy Black

A blog from a Dundee City Councillor who seems open to the idea that the community voices who are objecting to this proposal may have a point.

Dundee Coldside – Cllr Jimmy Black

Councillors have been bombarded with material from objectors to the Regional Performance Sports Centre, planned for Caird Park.

Tempting though it is to dismiss this as grievance driven rubbish from obsessive people who will not listen to reason, I can’t. Their arguments make a lot of sense. The problem is that everything revolves around process, and no-one’s interested in that. Except, perhaps, the courts; and naive souls who think everything should be done properly.

A planning application for the Caird Park development very nearly reached the Committee in November 2016. It was withdrawn at the last minute, and the reason given was the objection from Historic Scotland. A large sports building was to be sited close to historic Mains Castle, an A listed building.

This objection had been around for months and was included in the report submitted to Committee with a recommendation for approval. Other factors cited in public were the objectors’ call for a Pre-Determination Hearing, and the withdrawal of Dundee Football Club (announced in public in December).

Whatever the reason for the last minute withdrawal, it has become clear to me that many things about this application were wrong. My opinion is that we did the right thing by withdrawing it. At Monday’s P&R Committee we have the opportunity to start again.

Here are the things we need to sort……click here