Page last updated at 16:15 GMT, Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Historic Scotland to be 'helpful'

Castle Tioram
Plans for Tioram Castle have been refused previously

Historic Scotland's role in the planning process has to change to one of "problem solving", a government minister has said.

Culture Minister Michael Russell said the public agency should not be seen as an "obstacle" to progress.

He invited the owner of Castle Tioram whose plans for the Highlands ruins have been refused by Historic Scotland previously to apply again.

But he said this did not mean it would agree to everything the owner proposed.

Speaking during the historic environment debate in the Scottish Parliament, Mr Russell said of Historic Scotland: "Regulation has to become problem-solving.

"Its task must be to realise full value of historic assets rather than getting involved in the business that allows them to be seen as an obstacle to progress."

Mr Russell was asked for his views on Castle Tioram in Moidart in the west Highlands.

Businessman Lex Brown has previously been refused consent to restore it as private accommodation. He appealed against Historic Scotland's decision but it was upheld by the then Scottish Executive.

Mr Russell said if the owner wished to make a fresh application, Historic Scotland would work with him.

But the minister added: "Not everything is possible. Not every requirement and need by an individual owner can be met.

"I am determined that Historic Scotland be much more positive and helpful and indeed they are already being that."

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