Spean Bridge hous­ing con­cern

The Oban Times - - News - EL­LIE FORBES eforbes@oban­times.co.uk

CON­CERNS about an­other po­ten­tial hous­ing devel­op­ment in Spean Bridge have been voiced at a com­mu­nity coun­cil meet­ing.

A pro­posal to build 10 houses, in­clud­ing two af­ford­able ones, and a farm shop and cafe north west of Me­ha­lah, Tirindr­ish, Spean Bridge, has been sub­mit­ted to the High­land Coun­cil.

But there was ap­pre­hen­sion from mem­bers of Spean Bridge, Roy Bridge and Ach­nacarry com­mu­nity coun­cil and mem­bers of the pub­lic at the meet­ing where the plans were dis­cussed last week.

The 644-square me­tre farm shop was the main cause for con­cern be­cause of its size and the ‘green metal ex­ter­nal cladding’.

At the meet­ing, Philip Dart noted that while the ap­pli­ca­tion states the houses are go­ing to fit with the ap­pear­ance of the vil­lage, it also says the farm shop is to be made of cor­ru­gated iron.

He said: ‘ It’s meant to be a farm shop but it sounds more like B&Q. Cor­ru­gated iron is not con­ducive to a café and farm shop, it’s more like a barn.

‘ I have ques­tions about the vi­a­bil­ity of a farm shop in the vil­lage. And what will be­come of that build­ing if it ceases to be farm shop be­cause I would hate to see it used as any­thing else.’

De­vel­oper of the site, Ross MacGre­gor, re­sponded say­ing: ‘ We do have plans for this farm shop. It’s not go­ing to be a dis­as­ter, it will be a suc­cess.

‘ We want to work with the com­mu­nity coun­cil, the pub­lic and the coun­cil.

‘ Is it not a pos­i­tive thing that we can bring more peo­ple here and that more peo­ple will want to stay here?’

The com­mu­nity coun­cil also noted that a 1.8 me­tre high tim­ber fence sur­round­ing the devel­op­ment is ‘not in-keep­ing with ei­ther sur­round­ing prop­er­ties’ and will ‘di­min­ish the vis­ual ap­pear­ance of the devel­op­ment’.

Coun­cil chair­man John Fother­ing­ham added that the vil- lage’s pri­mary school is al­ready at full ca­pac­ity.

In a let­ter to the High­land Coun­cil, the com­mu­nity coun­cil said: ‘It is fore­cast that Spean Bridge Pri­mary School is likely to ex­ceed its cur­rent ca­pac­ity by 23 per cent in the next decade.

‘Con­tin­u­ing devel­op­ment such as this pro­posal will put a fur­ther strain on the school roll, and any build­ing up­grade will need sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment from High­land Coun­cil.’

The High­lands and Is­lands Lo­cal Devel­op­ment Plan states the site has a hous­ing ca­pac­ity for eight units, and it was ques­tioned why the de­vel­oper has sub­mit­ted plans that in­cludes 10.

How­ever news of two semi- de­tached af­ford­able homes was wel­comed by Mr Fother­ing­ham who said the vil­lage needs smaller houses, un­der the £200,000 price tag, to at­tract young peo­ple to stay in the area.

The com­mu­nity coun­cil has said it is not against devel­op­ment of the site in prin­ci­ple, but ‘can­not sup­port the cur­rent ap­pli­ca­tion in its present form’.

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