Black Isle Local Place Plan

*May 2024

Place plan submitted for registration

The Black Isle Local Place Plan was submitted to Highland Counci for registration on 24 May 2024.  If it is deemed to conform to the relevant Scottish Government criteria it will be added to the list of registered place plans for Highland communities, of which there are currently two others - Stratherrick and Foyers, and Ardgour.  There are also 23 'Notifications of Intent' to prepare a place plan from Highland communities.

Local authorities are required to 'take into account' local place plans when preparing or updating their local development plans.  Because the updated Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan is close to being adopted, local place plans registered by the deadline of 27 September 2024 will feed into the preparation of a new single Highland LDP scheduled to be adopted in 2027-28.  To what extent local place plans will influence this process remains to be seen.

So what if anything happens in the meantime?  See 'Working towards implementing the plan', below.  The current situation is that although, after many meetings and much discussion and consultation, the 'governance and accountability' section of the place plan had been agreed on by most of those involved, the Black Isle Partnership (which is the 'community-controlled body' formally promoting the plan), could not agree with what was proposed.  As a result the 'governance and accountability' section of the plan was deleted and replaced by a 'Next steps' section (below), omitting the previously included more detailed proposals for governance function and structure.

View and download the Place Plan as submitted for registration

Next steps

As well as being registered by The Highland Council, the Plan should also be endorsed by the Council, the Community Planning Partnership, and the Community Councils on the Black Isle.

The local community can deliver elements of this Plan, but implementation of the Plan as a whole will require collaborative action by the public and private sectors too.

For the Plan to lead to meaningful action, there needs to be a mechanism for the community to co-ordinate, advocate, support delivery and monitor the Plan.  These functions should involve the appropriate local partner organisations, including those focussed on advocacy and delivery.

During preparation of this Plan, discussions took place about the most appropriate form of implementation governance, culminating in a series of community workshops in early 2024.  To take things forward, the Highland Council have offered to facilitate initial meetings to establish this governance structure. 


March 2024

Place Plan update - revised governance proposals

Following a second workshop on 20 March, the BILPP team drafted a revised 'governance and accountability' section for the place plan which is now under final consideration by community councils and others.  This is not a rigid prescription of how the plan should be taken forward or the composition of the body which should be set up to manage it, but rather a pointer to the direction of travel.

Read the revised draft   (in easier-to-read Word document format)

Complete draft plan      (with original governance proposals)


*February 2024

Working towards implementing the plan

Although the legislation and government and council policy and guidance documents do not envisage that communities preparing local place plans should play any significant role in putting them into action, those who have taken the Black Isle Local Place Plan through extensive community consultation to its now near-final state want to guarantee 'the Plan is taken forward and doesn’t just end up on a shelf, going nowhere.'

The plan refers to the need for  'appropriate governance mechanisms to be put in place, which should be based on the following principles:'

1. The Plan and its implementation should focus on outcomes for the Black Isle as a whole. . .   

2. Overall ownership of this Plan should rest with the local community, as should leadership of the Plan’s delivery.

3. A group of local people will need to step up to lead and champion collaborative delivery of the Plan. . .

4. The wider community will need to support those individuals, so that they have the credibility and authority to lead on behalf of the wider community. . .

5. Collaborative working relationships must be established between the public sector and the local community. . .

These principles should underlie firm governance and implementation proposals, including

• Endorsement of this plan by Black Isle Community Councils, The  Highland Council and the Community Planning Partnership. 

• Developing open and transparent arrangements to establish and maintain a group of local people to champion the Plan for the wider Black Isle community. 

• Paid support to co-ordinate and communicate day-to-day  implementation of the Plan, working on behalf of the local community and with access to the public sector. 

• Developing delivery plans for each of the four Calls For Action. . .

A workshop held on 28 February to develop a way of implementing these proposals resulted in an interesting general exchange of ideas but little progress towards establishing a governance structure.


*January 2024

Press launch and final consultation

The Place Plan was launched to the press and public by Kate Forbes MSP at an event on Friday 19th January in Tore Village Hall.  After the launch a drop-in public information session ran from 11am to 6pm.

Following the launch a final consultation opportunity got under way through community councils, with links to the draft Plan online and a simple online form to enable  Black Isle residents to have their final say on the draft plan.  Printed copies of the plan have also been made available in Fortrose, Cromarty, Dingwall, Muir of Ord and Inverness libraries and Fortrose leisure centre.  This consultation closes on 16 February.  


May 2023

Second stage consultation - Saturday 3 June

The process of preparing your ideas about the future of the Black Isle for presentation to Highland Council and possible inclusion in future development plans continues with two extended local consultation and discussion sessions in Culbokie and Fortrose.

See the Events calendar for details

You've told us what you think - Now let's decide what to do.

Join us at one of our two events where we'll be discussing the priorities laid down by the community and how we can begin to address them.


Changes to Highland planning structure

Highland Council has recently published an updated newsletter outlining proposed changes to the planning structure in the Highlands, and referring to the preparation and status of Local Place Plans, and a survey about public interaction with the council on planning issues.

Find out more at  Environment / Planning / Overview of and changes to planning system


April 2023

The Black Isle Local Place Plan - Your opportunity to help create a Black Isle that we are proud to call home.  A Black Isle fit for future generations.

What do you want the Black Isle and your communities to be like in the future? What are the changes you would like to see?  What kind of voice do we want to have . .

Nick Wright, planner and facilitator for the Black Isle Local Place Plan, writes

At eight community events across the Black Isle in March, over 250 people shared over 1,700 suggestions for the future of the Black Isle: about housing, facilities, services, transport, jobs, the environment and more.

If you weren't able to come to an event, now it's your turn!  Take the survey to tell us your priorities for the future.

Click on this link to complete the survey, find out more about the plan, and see the display boards shared at the events.  You can also see the suggestions received so far. They're fascinating!

We don't yet know what will be in this new community-led plan.  We need your views to tell us what the priorities should be.  

We'll keep you posted about the next stages in the spring and summer to share the results, explore solutions to tackle your priorities, and draft the plan. 

You and your neighbours, family and friends can sign up to receive  this and future bulletins  here.

For more information contact one of the Place Plan team:  
Becky Richmond (Project Manager)
Nick Wright (planner/facilitator)                                                          07900 334110


January 2023

A note by Becky Richmond, Place Plan Project Manager for Black Isle Partnership

As most of you are aware, the Black Isle Partnership was awarded funding from the Place Based Investment fund to facilitate the production of a Black Isle wide Local Place Plan.  The aim of the Plan is to build on the community cohesion that evolved throughout the pandemic and provide a Black Isle wide vision for the future. 


It will build on existing surveys and will consult communities on their priorities for the next ten years.  There will be a specific focus on the issues around strengthening community resilience through addressing economic impacts on the community, an issue that has become more pressing with the current rise in the cost of living.  Health and wellbeing and the climate crisis are the two other key focuses for this Plan.


Read the full note


TBI Convenor Julian Paren has also written an article for our newsletter on the importance of the Local Place Plan to be formulated during the coming months for the long term future development of the Black Isle.


Read Julian's article

A response by Jon Palmer, a former director of Black Isle Partnership, to Highland Council's 'Have your Say' consultation in August-September 2022.  Jon is critical of the unstructured nature of this consultation and sees the proposed Black Isle Local Place Plan as a much more robust means of ascertaining the recovery and development needs and future spending priorities of Black Isle communities.


Read Jon's response


Scottish Government policy circular  1/2022  Local Place Plans

'Our Place' policy outline and guide

This document reveals that Nick Wright, who has been contracted by Black Isle Partnership to prepare a local Place plan for the Black Isle, is a leading authority on the concept and practice of Place Plans via his company Nick Wright Planning .  The website contains a link to a downloadable PDF guide to creating a local place plan, prepared by Nick Wright and the Scottish Community Development Centre.

Nick Wright's website contains a link to a blog by Nick and Ines Triebel on '20 Minute Neighbourhoods in the Highlands and Islands'The work outlined in the blog led to a detailed report exploring the possiblity of this at first sight unlikely concept.


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Forthcoming Events…

Sunday 21 July
14:00 TBI Open garden Julie Gibson Munlochy
Saturday 27 July
10:00 North Kessock Community market
Sunday 28 July
14:00 TBI open garden Martin and Penny Culbokie
Saturday 10 August
NA      Black Isle Horticultural Society Summer Show 2024
NA      Cromarty Community Market
Saturday 17 August
NA      Culbokie Community Market
Monday 19 August
NA      Festival of Politics 2024 - to 23 August
Saturday 24 August
10:00 North Kessock Community market

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