Alyth housing plans spark local concerns
Community council among those to voice its fears
Concerns have been raised by Alyth residents about two planning applications for housing on the outskirts of the east Perthshire town.
The issues came to light when they were raised at the most recent meeting of Alyth Development Trust, held online earlier this month, and have also been raised with Alyth Community Council and the four local Strathmore ward councillors.
Proposals for the construction of 20 houses on Losset Road and for “a housing development” on nearby Meethill Road left residents worried about the cumulative impact of the developments on the town.
They are close to the Pitcrocknie development on the north-east edge of the Alyth, where 200 houses are being built.
Council officers have since refused the application for 34 houses on land north of Meethill Road, describing it as “incongruous” and contrary to the local development plan on a number of grounds.
These include the proposals being for “a significant residential development on a green field site... with no natural boundaries, landscape definition or natural containment” which council officers said “would not be in keeping with the character of the surrounding area”.
In addition, a lack of information concerning the potential impact on the ecology and wildlife of the area meant that the application was contrary to the biodiversity and planning for nature policies of the local authority’s development plan for the region.
And, in a letter to the applicant detailing the reasons why the application had been
refused, council officers stated that “it has not been proven that there is a shortfall in the housing supply within the local area” and that the “indicative layout... is unacceptable in terms of its envisaged provision of open space, connectivity for vehicles and pedestrians, accessibility for HGVs and general layout”.
A total of 20 objections to the proposals was submitted by local residents, including by Robert Rae.
He said: “Previous planning policy has minimised development to the north-east of Alyth due, in part, to the unsuitable nature of the road system – Meethill Road, Hill Street and Toutie Street.
“Meethill Road in particular is no longer fit for purpose. The road is unable to safely accommodate pedestrians, cyclists, cars and large vehicles. This is due to the basic narrowness of the road, single file or non-existent pavements, large numbers of parked cars and high hedgerows limiting forward visibility.
“The reality is that the 20 and 40mph speed restrictions are regularly exceeded, sometimes substantially so. It is clear
that this development would further exacerbate this already unsatisfactory situation.
“A major issue is the nature of the ground itself and the long-term implications for the change of use to domestic housing. Currently the ground is being used for grazing.
“In the recent past it has been used for arable purposes, producing barley, and a tree nursery prior to that. Less than a day with a plough would return the ground to arable use. This option is vital in the overall scheme of things.
“Agricultural land is fundamental to any economy, particularly here in Strathmore. It represents wealth creation and self sufficiency, the importance of which current events in Europe would surely underline. Once lost it is gone forever. This cannot be emphasised enough.”
Mr Rae went on: “Much more sinister however, is the issue of where this is heading.
“It is certain that if this proposal were to be approved that further proposals would follow, greatly expanding the residential area.
“This would be at the cost of quality agricultural land and would dramatically change the environment, quite apart from other issues. It is essential therefore that this application is also seen as strategic and not just as an isolated proposal.”
Meanwhile, an application for 20 houses and parking for up to 40 vehicles on a 1.16 hectare site off Losset Road, has been submitted by CAG Architects on behalf of David Barbour.
The site is also currently being used for grazing and the application has received 17 objections.
Alyth Community Council objected to both applications.
In its letter to PKC, the statutory organisation stated: “Both locations... are outwith the local development plan for the town.
“Both building projects appear to be planned for areas of land either presently used for farming, or that was at one time used for farming.
“There are serious concerns about the number of existing ongoing housebuilding projects that if planning consent was given to the two new applications very quickly Alyth will not have time to develop the infrastructure needed for such an influx of people, children and vehicles.
“Parking availability, a problem at present, the narrow streets and narrow footpaths with pedestrians already having to use the streets for walking can only become worse increasing the dangers to Alyth residents.”
The community council also raised concerns about increased pressure on Alyth Health Centre and the town’s primary school, access to and from the proposed projects, and the capacity of the drainage sewage works in the town.