Politicians left disappointed at PKC go-ahead
Politicians in Blairgowrie and Rattray have acknowledged the need for affordable housing in the town following the decision to approve plans for 71 new houses in the town.
However, concerns were raised by neighbouring residents, and the town’s community council, about the density of the number of houses in the development.
And Conservative councillor for the Blairgowrie and Glens ward, Caroline Shiers, was disappointed by the decision to approve the development despite these concerns having been raised.
She said: “I spoke at the planning committee meeting arguing that 71 houses at Blackthorn Place was over-development and urging the committee to support a reduction in the number of properties.
“Unfortunately the vote went six votes to five in favour of the application.
“However, the commitment to a mix of shared equity properties, mid-market rent and social housing is different to those we started out with and the meetings I have held with officers of PKC and Stewart Milne have led to a commitment to some improvements to a pick-up area at the community campus and addressing an ongoing flooding issue.
“I have asked for an early meeting to be held to ensure the local lettings plan and neighbourhood agreement are put in place as has been discussed at various meetings including the recent public meeting at the community campus.”
Her fellow Conservative councillor for the ward, Bob Brawn, sits on the committee and seconded proposals for an amendment to reject the plans on the grounds that the number of houses proposed for the site was too high.
He said: “There is undoubtedly a great need for affordable housing in Blairgowrie as there is all over Perthshire.
“However, I am not persuaded that this need outweighs the concerns for the density of housing on this site.
“It is not just building houses that’s important, you have to create a good environment as well.”
And SNP councillor for the ward, Tom McEwan, commented: “The planning application for Blackthorn Place has been a very challenging introduction to life as a councillor.
“I think the ward’s councillors, the PKC officers and the community council have played an important role in ensuring the residents in the Moyness area had access to planners, housing officers and the developers so that the plans that were approved last week could be challenged and amended to include shared equity properties, so sorely needed by local working couples and families.
“These houses and the ones planned in Rattray will go a long way to meeting the desperate need for both social housing and more affordable smaller houses in the ward, but will still leave over 200 applicants on our housing waiting list for the area.
“There are more planning applications in the pipeline around Blairgowrie and an updated Local Development Plan (LDP2) is due for publication before Christmas.
“It is essential that local people engage with the planning process to ensure future plans are progressed in an acceptable manner and hold developers and the council to the infrastructure modernisation that is needed to support our residents as our vibrant town continues to grow.”
A spokesperson for Blairgowrie and Rattray Community Council (BRCC) said: “Whilst recognising the need for more affordable houses in Blairgowrie it is a pity that the committee did not heed the strength of opposition to the density and issues linked to that.
“When built this will make this development out of step with the surrounding housing.
“The community council hopes that in future PKC holds firm to its stated policies regarding the supply of affordable housing, that it be fully integrated within all housing developments so that much better integrated, mixed tenure developments are provided in the future.”
Concerns Councillor Caroline Shiers and Murdo Fraser MSP visited the development site earlier this year