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A planned housing development in Oban is on course to get the go-ahead – despite having been the subject of nearly 60 objections.
The proposals by TSL Ltd for the site at Lonan Drive are recommended for approval by an Argyll and Bute Council planning officer, subject to a pre-determination discretionary hearing.
Councillors will debate the plans at a meeting of the authority’s planning, protective services and licensing (PPSL) committee on Wednesday April 17.
The presence of Japanese knotweed on the site has been among the reasons listed for objection in a report prepared for the meeting by planning officer Fiona Scott.
The council has received 59 objections to the plans for 44 houses, including one from Councillor Jim Lynch, who is not a member of the PPSL committee, as well as one from Oban Community Council.
Ms Scott’s report said: ‘The site is within the established settlement area of Oban and therefore has policy support in the adopted Argyll and Bute Local Development Plan 2015.
‘The environmental impacts of the proposal have been assessed and it is considered that any impacts can be addressed during the consideration of any subsequent approval of matters specified in condition.
‘There are no other material considerations, including issues raised by third parties, which would warrant anything other than the application being determined in accordance with the provisions of the Development Plan.
‘Given the significant interest in the application, with many from local addresses, this level of interest in the application is considered to be of significance in the context of the community with a broad range of issues raised.
‘It is therefore considered that there would be benefit in the matter being addressed by means of a discretionary local hearing which would afford members an opportunity to visit the site, receive further representations and to ask questions prior to the application being determined.’
In relation to the concerns over Japanese knotweed, Ms Scott added: ‘The council’s biodiversity officer has highlighted the presence of Japanese knotweed on the site and therefore it is proposed to impose a condition seeking a programme of works for its eradication.
‘Such details will require to form part of any detailed proposals for the site and will be reviewed by the council’s biodiversity officer in advance of any detailed permission being granted.’
Concerns have also been expressed on traffic and access to the site, including how traffic and pedestrians will be kept apart, especially at opening and closing times of the nearby Rockfield and St Columba’s primary schools joint campus.
Ms Scott said: ‘The roads authority was consulted on the proposed development and raised no objection on road or pedestrian safety grounds subject to a number of conditions being imposed on the grant of permission including the requirement for a flood assessment to be undertaken; road to be built to adoptable standard and provision of appropriate parking and turning areas.’
Councillor Lynch’s submission as part of the planning process stated that he strongly supported the need for new houses in Oban, but felt that the proposed Lonan Drive development would have a negative impact.
He said: ‘Although this area has been designated for housing for some time, Oban’s infrastructure has changed dramatically due to other developments in that area of the town.
‘Development in this particular area will increase the flow of traffic feeding into an already busy section of the town.
‘This area is home to a variety of wildlife, trees and fauna which will be lost forever if this development goes ahead.’