Blairgowrie Advertiser

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.

 ?? ?? Planning Ian Donaldson of Alyth Community Council, pictured previously
Planning Ian Donaldson of Alyth Community Council, pictured previously

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