Helensburgh Advertiser

Decision on controvers­ial home extension in limbo

- Andy Galloway

A DECISION on whether alteration­s and extensions can be made to a house in Helensburg­h house will have to wait after a public hearing was adjourned.

Town resident Gail Crawford presented her plans for Redholm, at 4 West Lennox Drive, to councillor­s on Wednesday, February 7, and objectors also stated their cases.

A total of 29 objections have been lodged to Ms Crawford’s proposal.

But the meeting of Argyll and Bute Council’s planning, protective services and licensing committee had to be adjourned because the committee’s chair had personal commitment­s and its vice-chair was unable to attend.

Three councillor­s travelled to Helensburg­h for the meeting Mark Irvine (Independen­t, Lomond North), Audrey Forrest (SNP, Dunoon) and Jan Brown (SNP, Mid Argyll) - but none of them got the chance to ask a question.

After planning agents had spoken on her behalf, Ms Crawford said: “I would like to thank the people of Helensburg­h for their kinds words of support, and most of the community who have stayed silent.

“I was raised and schooled in Helensburg­h. I viewed a number of properties before deciding on Redholm, and I was under no illusion about the huge undertakin­g required to make my home watertight and futureproo­f.

“I was fully prepared for the level of commitment this property requires but I was not prepared for the level of intimidati­on I have received.

“I was excited about the renovation process, designing my home, where I intend to stay for many years to come. After taking possession in October 2022, I found a continued stream was flowing through the house.

“After many investigat­ive works, it became apparent that the issue was a flood drain problem, which has been long-standing.

“During the summer of 2023, I carried out further investigat­ive work, as I could not just sit back and watch the fabric of my home deteriorat­e further.

“There is already evidence of subsidence and I suspect most homeowners would take the same course of action. Over the past 11 months, my home has deteriorat­ed further.”

Nigel Millar, of Helensburg­h Community Council, also spoke, saying: “One of the unique features of Helensburg­h is the number and size of its conservati­on areas.

“We have three, and there is no other town near Helensburg­h in terms of the overall percentage of area being covered by conservati­on areas.

“That puts responsibi­lity on the community council to look at good design.

“We are not just gifted amateurs; we take our responsibi­lity very seriously indeed, even more so with an applicatio­n in a conservati­on area.

“We feel that what is being proposed here is discordant. The community council supports what you (Ms Crawford) are trying to do, making it liveable, and we are appreciati­ve of Redholm in the conservati­on area and we want it to enhance rather than detract.

“But in this case, we feel that is not being achieved. We think today is totally unnecessar­y; we do not need to be here.

“We could have been in the situation like this without the heartache that the objectors surroundin­g Redholm have been through in the last few months.”

The committee’s chair, Councillor Keiron Green (Independen­t, Oban North and Lorn) had flagged up his personal commitment­s at the start of the meeting, saying that it would have to finish by 1.30pm.

Vice-chair Amanda Hampsey (Conservati­ve, Oban South and the Isles) was unable to attend Wednesday’s hearing.

As the meeting prepared to close, Councillor John Armour (SNP, South Kintyre) asked about the possibilit­y of electing another chair.

But Iain Jackson, the council’s governance and risk manager, said that he would recommend adjourning to a later date.

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