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Members of the public attend consultation on new Inverness housing development

By Rachel Smart

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Sketches of the plans. Picture: Callum Mackay
Sketches of the plans. Picture: Callum Mackay

Members of the public have attended a consultation on a planned new major housing development on the banks of the River Ness.

Ness Valley Leisure Ltd is seeking planning permission in principle for the residential development of a possible 350 new homes "and associated infrastructure and open space" on land at Ness-side.

The second consultation took place on August 8 at Holm Mills Shopping Village, where local residents and those wanting to voice their opinions and concerns about the development had the chance to view plans and speak to the applicant's agents, Mabbett & Associates.

Speaking at the event local resident Christine Horne said: "I don't think people in the area were aware that the land was going to be used for housing, although that is what it said when we saw the plan to begin with.

"I think the big concern with the development for me is the access to the river from it, and the potential flooding that could take place.

"How big a buffer will there be? We need proper wetland type buffering rather than just through pipes.

"There is a national housing crisis just now, and it's unfortunate that only 35 per cent of the proposed homes will be used for social housing. In an ideal world it would be all of it.

Connor McKinley (Mabbett) and Christine Horne. Picture: Callum Mackay
Connor McKinley (Mabbett) and Christine Horne. Picture: Callum Mackay

"It'll also be interesting to see how education will cope, and we need more amenities in place if the housing is going to built. It's all good and well saying we would build another GP surgery but the NHS hasn't got GPs.

"We would also need better transport links. If there is going to be an increase in people we can't have them all going in cars with a climate emergency happening. We need sustainable transport, as at the moment older people are already struggling to cross the road where we live due to the amount of cars."

Another local resident, Dot Getliffe also agreed that proper infrastructure would be needed for the development.

She said: "There is rarely infrastructure put in place with housing developments. Something like this must have the infrastructure in place and have amenities and social hubs for people to access so they don't have to travel into town if it's hard for them.

"We need things in place for people who are not car owners, or are not online so that they can get things on their doorstep."

Dot Getliffe. Picture: Callum Mackay..
Dot Getliffe. Picture: Callum Mackay..

Although a detailed layout has yet to be submitted, the screening documents reveal that the new housing would consist of roughly 350 homes and feature a mix of flats, houses and town houses.

Mabbett chartered architect Adrian Fatol was present at the consultation and said that it had been a busy day with people coming by.

Adrian Fatol (Mabbett). Picture: Callum Mackay
Adrian Fatol (Mabbett). Picture: Callum Mackay
Yash Parker (Mabbett) Picture: Callum Mackay
Yash Parker (Mabbett) Picture: Callum Mackay

He said: "It has been a busy enough day, and we have had people addressing their concerns. It's more important for us to hear the negative views at this point, and people seem to be interested."

People can also comment on the Mabbett Planning and Design website at www.mabbett.eu or email rgrant@mabbett.eu by Tuesday, August 29.

The application is currently for planning in principle. A full planning application – detailing the specific layout and housing types – would also need to be submitted and approved before any development could take place.

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