West Lothian homes plan rejected over fears road would become …
Plans to build six houses on a former quarry site in East Calder have been rejected after neighbours raised fears for road safety around their homes.
JB Developments ltd have had permission in principle to the develop the site at Raw Holdings since 2016. The Local Review Body overturned a prior refusal and allowed a plan for six two homes on the brownfield site.
There were 43 objections to the detailed plans however, and objectors told a recent meeting of the Development Management Committee that allowing construction lorries onto the single track access road would be “a death trap”.
Planning officer Wendy McCorriston said the application was solely for approval of detailed plans. Mrs McCorriston said some of the objections had already been addressed, and access to the site had already been granted as part of permission in principle.
But the key argument of neighbours centred on the private road they all share to access their homes- and the only road to access the site.
The area is a mixture of new homes being built to the north of Raw Holdings by Persimmon and the smallholding bungalow cottages which neighbour the former quarry.
The owners of the smallholdings own the road, though ownership of the road is not a material planning concern.
Marilyn Nisbet lives directly opposite the old quarry, and her family has lived in the area for seventy years. She told the meeting that the road had recently been tarred at a cost of £70,000, paid for by her and her neighbours.
“The road is single-tracked, it’s not suitable for heavy lorries. I have problems even driving out down the road, with children playing and dog walkers.
She said neighbours of the site had aired concerns when the plans were initially put forward in 2016. At the time there were three access points to Raw Holdings; now there is only one as the other two have been blocked to motor traffic and converted to part of the national cycle path.
“If there are construction lorries on the road it is going to be a death trap. There will be hundreds of lorries coming along that road taking out material and bringing construction materials.”
Councillor Carl John who lives on Raw Holdings, highlighted how narrow the road was by pointing out that his driveway was blocked by councillors’ cars when they came on a site visit two days before.
He said that the housing developers on three sides of his home snubbed conditions governing restricted working hours and contractors for the major housing developers also ripped out hedges along Raw Holdings and destroyed badger setts.
“Wildlife has been totally destroyed,” said Councillor John.
Councillor John pointed out that on Mansefield, now the only vehicular access to Raw Holdings, there are regularly large vans and trailers parked on the road side which makes access even more difficult.
The other two roads have been converted to cycle and footpaths Leaving Raw Holdings a narrow dead end of single track road.
“The few wee bits of smallholding that we have left mean a lot to us.” said Councillor John.
Owners of smallholdings were not allowed to build two story houses on their sites but now the smallholdings are being surrounded by two storey homes from the new houses at Calderwood and Raw Holdings. The quarry plan also details six two storey homes.
Councillor John said it seemed there was one rule for the people who lived on Raw Holdings and another for the developers.
Mrs McCorriston said she sympathised with the residents but the meeting could only discuss the proposals of the plans for the houses as the access had been granted as part of the initial planning permission
Councillor Willie Boyle told the meeting: “The principle of building on brownfield sites is hard to argue with,” but said he had concerns about the impact of the development on its neighbours and the wider area.
He pointed out that the development only partially improved the area in that it removed a brownfield site. The six large two storey homes would have an unacceptable impact on neighbouring bungalows.
He also questioned the planners’ assertion that the proposals conformed with transport infrastructure and the amenity of the area, not only for the homeowners in Raw Holdings but the people who use the cycle and footpaths in the area.
“I would recommend that we refuse on the grounds that it doesn’t conform with design principles and it doesn’t improve on the amenity other than removing a brownfield site. It also impacts the cyclepath.”
This was backed by Councillor Pauline Stafford.
An alternative proposal by Councillor Lawrence Fitzpatrick to support the plans failed to win a seconder.
Chairing the meeting, Councillor Stuart Borrowman said the issue was “hugely frustrating and complicated” for all involved but added: “we appear to have arrived at a decision”. The house plan was refused.
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- ^ East Calder (www.edinburghlive.co.uk)
- ^ homes (www.edinburghlive.co.uk)
- ^ road (www.edinburghlive.co.uk)
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