Thursday, May 18, 2017

A new housing estate at Lochloy in exchange for the bridge that never was? Interesting suggestion from member of the public at CC meeting.

Last night when this observer returned form a couple of pints at the Seaforth we put up a wee summary of the River CC meeting in which the Proposal of Application Notice for  NA2 South Kingsteps, Nairn from Springfield was discussed - further details here. 

One member of the public at the meeting suggested this would be a good time to get a commitment from developers for the bridge that never was (over the railway to connect the Lochloy schemes to the A96 and the industrial estate and whatever else was destined to be built (such as a Sainsbury's store).  

A quick flashback to October of 2013 when we posted an article about discussion at a community council meeting over Lochloy problems including the bridge that never was but was supposed to be. Here is an extract from an article "Lochloy – a non-existent bridge over troubled planning waters"

" No River CC meeting seems to be complete these days without either the Lochloy grass cutting problems on the agenda or debate at some point on Lochloy related issues – namely the lack of planning enforcement. A resident of Lochloy present on Wednesday night told the regular River CC monthly meeting:

“But surely when planning permission was granted in the first place something should have been put in place to ensure that the planning regulations were upheld.”

The Westies Chair, Rosemary, who was also at the meeting then intervened: “Mr Chairman could I actually ask our ex Provost Liz over there. She’s been an elected councillor for some years. When you saw these things weren't happening at Lochloy did you do anything about it?

Liz replied that she had meetings with planning officers and that she thought the problem had been lack of enforcement.

Rosemary followed this up: “Well would you see if there is some way out of this because surely if things aren't complied with then it’s the fault of what was put down in the first place? Therefore you should have been shouting it to the rooftops.”

There was some more debate and then Liz got another chance to say more: “The last time I actually went and arranged a meeting with planning officers the files had been archived that had the conditions in them and they took them back out and they started collecting the monies again for the bridge across which I think that the council is now trying to deliver. But it has…I mean, that site has been a nightmare.” "

And so back to the present day and the interesting suggestion from the floor of the latest River CC meeting last night (Thursday 16th May 2017). Namely that is in exchange for planning permission get the developers to build the bridge that never was and take the pressure off the Lochloy Road junction. 

A long way to go then folks, Springfield are going to take their proposal for project  "Macdonald Fields, Meadow Lea Nairn" to public consultation and some time after that will be a planning application. However when the area NA2 appeared in the Inner Moray Firth Development plan for consultation there were over 25 pages of comments received and most of them were pretty anti - here's a bit form a Gurn article of February 2014:

"One submission comes from the town’s three community councils. Nairn West, River and Suburban CCs state:

"See attached composite note of jointly-agreed CC comments, in particular Section 4, headed SOUTH KINGSTEPS (NA2) – objection: development not required and not appropriate. This site should be removed from the Plan, for several reasons. “Rounding-off” the eastern margin of the town (given in the MIR as a reason for allocation) is no justification for building over the green space and watercourse of this field which have amenity value. Building housing on this field would have implications for drainage. The indicative total of 90 units is totally unacceptable. This would substantially alter the current low-density-residential character of the existing Kingsteps houses. The total of new housing elsewhere built and approved (Lochloy), likely (Delnies ) and allocated (Nairn South, Sandown, etc) renders this allocation superfluous. Access is a critical constraint. The capacity of the unclassified minor road to Brodie is limited. Access to this site through the existing Lochloy site NA5 (which itself has only one entry-point already serving some 600 houses) is inappropriate. If combined with a direct link out on to the Lochloy-Brodie road, this would create an obvious “ratrun”. This road – the sole access – leads only to an already problematic junction in Nairn, and eastward as a narrow rural road with no convenient connection to the A96. Unless and until the bypass route is confirmed and there is a vehicular linkage eastward from the Lochloy residential area on to the eventual A96 bypass, there should be no development on site NA2.”

Another comment received by the Council reads:

“Lochloy Road, through Kingsteps is a narrow road. The through traffic is made up of timber lorries, tractors, delivery vans, school buses plus the use of private vehicles from Kingsteps and beyond. Passing areas are not designated, therefore private driveways are used. Exit on to A96 from Lochloy Road at the junction at certain times results in long queues forming on Lochloy Road. This would be made worse by the addition of 90 plus more cars joining the exit to work. This would not be alleviated by the new proposed trunk road as traffic would still have to travel on Lochloy Road.”

In his representation, Laurie Fraser, himself a Highland Councillor states: 
“NA2 South Kingsteps. There should be no further housing built to the east of Nairn until the transport links have been improved. This means a road from the A96, Balmakeith, over the railway line to link in with the current development being proposed.” More here.

Oidhche mhath Gurnshire.