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Highland Council rejects plan for 47 new homes in Drumnadrochit but Springfield Properties may appeal

By Scott Maclennan

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Cllr David Fraser argued against the Springfield Properties development.
Cllr David Fraser argued against the Springfield Properties development.

A long-held proposal for 47 new homes at Drum Farm in Drumnadrochit has been rejected by Highland Council but the developer Springfield Properties has said it may well appeal the move.

Springfield’s application was deferred from the December meeting of the south planning committee to get more information about why the company wanted to change the phasing of the development.

The developer said in a letter to councillors: “If Springfield do not receive planning permission in February which amends the phasing of development as proposed, the overall project will be rendered unviable.”

Local councillor David Fraser said at issue was the “commercial element” which is viewed locally as essential to the plans so Drumnadrochit is not left with just housing but also economic opportunities.

He said he hoped that during the time of deferment that a “more pragmatic view” would be found perhaps involving community consultation but he said that “hasn’t happened.”

The councillor also argued that originally the council objected to the application and it went to the Scottish Reporter who placed conditions on the development, emphasising the importance of the commercial elements for the community.

He added that the rate of build of 15 homes per year was “recommended by the reporter” and “that has been a long-standing part of the development plan and to make sure that it can be absorbed within the community.”

Councillor Fraser said he hoped in the time of deferment that a “more pragmatic view” would be found perhaps involving community consultation but he said that “hasn’t happened.”

So he tabled a motion to refuse because “the applicant has not sufficiently demonstrated the need to amend the phasing and the rate of build despite further evidence being requested by the south planning application committee.”

That was accepted by south planning committee members but Dave Main, managing director (North) of Springfield Properties hit back at the decision.

“At a time when the provision of good quality homes across the Highlands is so important, we are disappointed our proposals for 47 homes in Drumnadrochit have been refused,” he said.

“In addition to creating and sustaining local jobs, this development will strongly enhance the existing neighbourhood bringing more quality, energy efficient homes to Drumnadrochit.

“This is especially important at a crucial time where additional housing is essential to support upcoming investment from the Green Freeport which will create more than 10,000 new jobs in the area.

“The application sought amendments to the proposed house types and phasing of the development to ensure the viability of the whole site, which also includes a new village core.

“The land has long been allocated for residential development by Highland Council and our application was recommended for approval by Council Officials following an assessment that confirmed our proposals complied with National and Local Planning Policy requirements.

“This is a missed opportunity by local Councillors. Fortunately, the Scottish Government has procedures in place to allow us to appeal this decision, which we fully intend to utilise, and we are confident this process will reach the right outcome.”

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