120 new homes?

LOCAL housing looks set for a boost as a planning application to build 120 new homes at the site of the old Guide Dog centre has been recommended for approval (writes Sarah McLean).

Eric Lowson, director of infrastructure services, was recommending that the committee support the application at a development standards meeting on Tuesday, (yesterday) just as the Dispatch was going to press.

The application states the intention of Guide Dogs for the Blind to build 120 homes on the site. The planned layout will ensure that the main areas of woodland on the site are maintained.

A playpark and a ‘kickabout’ area will be included towards the south end of the site and there will be a footpath come cycleway running between the Dundee Road and the Forfar Path Network.

In the supporting statement the applicant said that as the site is now surplus to requirements and all buildings have been demolished it lends itself to be redeveloped into a residential area.

Mr Lowson said: “The statement also refers to the opportunities to develop pedestrian linkages to the wider street and path network.

“The applicant states that low density, low rise housing which characterise the Dundee Road are reflected in the proposed layout.

“It is envisaged that the house types would be predominantly detached and semi-detached two storey dwellings each with generous garden space.

“In terms of affordable housing, the applicant proposes 18 units in the northeast corner of the site. This development will start at the west end of the site adjacent to Dundee Road and spread eastwards up the slope towards Balmashanner.”

The plans have been deemed suitable following an ecological appraisal which stated that the site supports habitats of only limited nature conservation with the exception of occasional stands of mature trees.

Mr Lowson said: “The applicant also states that a scheme of native trees and hedge planting is proposed as part of the redevelopment which should improve the overall nature conservation value of the site.”

The applicants have also supplied a 20-year landscape management plan which will ensure constant maintenance of the area including hedge planting, conifer tree belts, litter clearance and monitoring.

Despite high levels of support for the redevelopment Forfar Community Council have raised some concerns about the number of houses which will be using the junction onto the Dundee Road and the lack of car parking.

They have also raised concerns about the layout and that there could be some issues with car access to the rear of the buildings and road clearing in the winter.

Community councillors were also concerned about the maintenance and safety of a planned pond.

In response to these doubts Mr Lowson said: “The Head of Roads has considered the proposed development and has no objection subject to conditions in relation to visibility splays and phasing.

“I also note Forfar Community Council’s concerns in principle about the safety of the SUDS pond. SUDS ponds are relatively common in modern housing developments and the proposed pond in this instance has a maximum depth of 1.5m with a maximum slope gradient of one in four.

“It is also relevant to note that the plot layout provides the ability for houses to overlook the area. On that basis, the proposed SUDS pond is not considered to represent a significant safety hazard.”