Plans submitted for controversial 46 home development on Bridge of Allan greenbelt land

Formal proposals have been submitted for a controversial housing development on Bridge of Allan greenbelt.

Allanwater Homes, which submitted a Proposal of Application Notice for the the Blairforkie site in 2020, plans to erect a total of 46 homes – twelve of which are described as affordable.

Residents living near the site – bounded by the popular Darn Walk, Blairforkie Drive and Fishers Green – have already expressed concern about its potential environmental impact as well as increased road traffic and pressures on infrastructure.

A campaign group, Save Blairforkie Greenspace, has since been set up opposing the plans and it has been distributing leaflets in the area.

Allanwater Homes have described the scheme as ‘the next generation’ of housing growth in the town.

However, Bridge of Allan councillor Alasdair Tollemache said this week: “It is essential that we protect our greenbelt, and as such this proposed development is in the wrong place.”

A planning statement submitted along with the planning application states that Bridge of Allan is a ‘highly pressured area’, where house prices, and a lack of social rented accommodation, are excluding people, and particularly those on low incomes, from the housing market.

It continues: ‘For that reason, a 33 per cent affordable housing contribution is required for developments of four units or more. This development will provide 12 affordable units.

‘These will be the first new affordable houses in the town in recent memory, whilst it is extremely unlikely that existing allocations will provide anywhere near this number.

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‘There are few housing allocations identified in the town, with the five identified only contributing an estimated 30 units (2015-2022) and 6 units (2022-2027).

‘Of those, number four Inverallan Road is identified as non-effective, and is stated as being for removal, as an allocation, from the next local development plan (Housing Land Audit 2020), which will remove 12 units, leaving 18.

‘Although a third of those remaining 18 units (ie six) should be affordable, it is likely that, given such low numbers, payments in lieu will be accepted in all cases, meaning there are no socially rented accommodation units likely to come forward in the town up to 2027.’

It was further pointed out that education provision had been identified as a particular constraint and the development will therefore make a developer contribution towards that.

The statement concluded: ‘On the basis of the above, and having considered all other submissions and drawings, it is clear that the proposed development complies with Policy 2.1 (The Five Year Effective Housing Land Supply) in the Local Development Plan (LDP), and with all other policies in the LDP and guidance that is applicable.

‘There are no material considerations that indicate anything other than the proposals being supportable.

‘As the proposed development, therefore, complies with the development plan, and no material considerations indicate otherwise, it ought to be approved.’

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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