Pressure pays off for Caol green space group

Objectors at the Caol green space site. Photographed are the Mathers famiy, Mclean family, Mcmillan family, Barbour family, Smith family, Leslie, Shearer, John Gray, Gupet family and the Johnstone family.

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Ethan Mathers, foreground and his brother Warren use the site as a safe place to play.

Residents in Caol campaigning to stop 18 residential homes being built on one of the few remaining green space areas in the village have been advised that ‘significant changes’ have been made to the original plans.

A notice of intended planning permission for the development was sent to affected households on Kilmallie Road, Glenkingie Terrace and Glenkingie Street in April.

But residents, along with members of the wider community who make use of the green space site and adjacent tarmac area, currently used for parking, say that the plans submitted by Lochaber Housing Association (LHA) do not comply with Highland Council’s requirements for open space in new residential developments.

‘This space is used by many, not just those that live in the neighbouring properties but parents, children, dog walkers etc from all areas in Caol and beyond,’ said Kilmallie Road resident Joanne Mathers.

‘It has been used for recreational purposes for years and especially through COVID when it has provided sanctuary to many families in the area.’

As well as the green space, the group are also objecting to plans to build on the tarmac area which they say was not mentioned in the original proposals.

‘We had received an initial letter stating the development plan would only be to the green space area in August not affecting the parking but in April we received intended notification of submitting planning which removes all parking in this area,’ explained Joanne.

‘On average 15-20 cars belonging to residents, visitors and businesses park there daily. They have allocated seven or eight spaces at the top which will push members of this community to park on the main road, causing blockages and congestion for other users and emergency services.’

Glenkingie Terrace resident Aileen Hannah added: ‘These proposals would have significant impact on an established community.

‘To state there is a shortage of housing does not mean that this should be to the detriment of an existing established hard working community by removing their enclosed communal recreational facilities on an enclosed site where there is unquestionably severe traffic concerns and other safety matters.’

The group are aiming to do a parking protest on the main road to show the potential impact of this once the Highland Council eportal goes live.

The housing proposal came as quite a surprise to residents as they had not been included as part of the original Caol-Lochyside Development Plan,

However, the group posted on their Facebook page last week: ‘We have been advised that there have been significant amended changes to the plan which we will share as soon as we have been provided with them.’

‘Great work from everyone involved so far, lets keep going to save the green!’

The group is urging everyone concerned about the plans to join their To object proposed housing plan – Kilmallie Rd, Glenkingie Terrace and Rd Facebook page.