PROFESSOR Sir Robert Grieve, the first chairman of the Highlands and

Islands Development Board and one of Scotland's most eminent planners,

has died after a long illness. He was 84.

Friends and colleagues last night paid tribute to him. Mr Iain

MacAskill, the current chairman of the Crofters' Commission and a

colleague from the early days of the HIDB, said: ''He was a man of

vision, a very thoughtful man who knew the Highlands and Islands very


''He was very sensitive to its needs, and very committed to the work

of the board. He stuck to his convictions throughout.''

Sir Douglas Hardie, former deputy chairman of the Scottish Development

Agency, said Sir Robert had been a valued judge for many years in the

annual Regeneration of Scotland design awards.

''I am very sad at this news,'' Sir Douglas said. ''He was full of

humour and his contribution to the judging panel was unique.''

Educated at North Kelvinside School and the Royal Technical College in

Glasgow, where he qualified as a civil engineer, Sir Robert began his

career in local government with Glasgow Corporation, Renfrew County

Council and Paisley Burgh Council.

Among his notable early achievements was his work on the Clyde Valley

regional plan.

He joined the Scottish Office in 1946, firstly as regional planning

officer for the Highlands and Islands, and then in the same capacity for

the Clyde Valley.

In 1960, he became chief planning officer for Scotland.

Glasgow University appointed him to the chair of town and regional

planning in 1964, the same year in which he was made planning consultant

to the Scottish Office.

A year later, Sir Robert took up the chairmanship of the HIDB, a role

he fulfilled for five years. He was knighted in 1969 and was later

appointed as an honorary professor at Heriot-Watt University.

Sir Robert is survived by two sons and two daughters. His wife, May,

died in 1984.