Allanwater Backs Down
Last month we submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Stirling Council in connection with Allanwater Developments’ most recent planning application. This was for a large private house on the hill, and was subsequently withdrawn by Allanwater Developments prior to the publication of a formal decision by the planning authority. It was generally understood that Allanwater withdrew because the Council advised them that it was planning to refuse the application.
The information obtained through the FOI request includes the Planning Officer’s reasons for refusal, and clearly shows the weakness of Allanwater’s case. It establishes the following crucial points: that there should be no loss of Open Space; the importance of the Conservation area; and that the site of the former house is NOT a Brownfield site and is clearly part of the open space.
We are delighted to see this critical information which confirms the status of Holmehill as Open Space; debunks the myth that because a house once stood there another house can be built; and sends a clear signal that it is not land on which building is acceptable.
Here is the text of the Planning Officer’s reasons for refusal:
The proposals are deemed to be contrary to the Local Development Plan and Supplementary Planning Guidance for a number of reasons.
The proposals are situated within a site identified by the LDP as being within the Green Corridor and an Open Space Audit site. The site is also situated within the Dunblane Conservation Area.
The proposals are deemed to be contrary to Policy 1.3 Green Network and Open Space of the LDP in that the proposals are deemed to encroach upon existing open spaces and green corridors and do not maintain or enhance functionality and connectivity (active travel routes, habitat networks, etc). The proposals will result in the net reduction of open space, including loss of connectivity and accessibility and are not deemed to enhance elements of the Green Network.
There is also a presumption against the loss of open space, under this policy, unless its loss or replacement with alternative provision is deemed acceptable. No compensation measures have been identified by the applicant. The loss of land is deemed unacceptable.
Policy 7.2, Development within and outwith Conservation Areas, is also relevant to this application. The proposals are not deemed to comply with this policy as it is deemed to have a detrimental impact on the Conservation Area, will not preserve or enhance the area in terms of character, appearance or setting.
The proposals are also deemed contrary to policy as it does not relate to the density or pattern of the existing development area in terms of the design, massing or scale. The proposals lead to the loss, not retention as stated in 7.2.(ii), of the natural features which contribute to the character of the Conservation Area and its setting.
The applicant states that the site is a brownfield site, this is acknowledged in that there was previously a building on the site. However, brownfield sites are described as land that has been previously developed and are occupied by redundant buildings, or where the site has been significantly degraded by a former activity. Within the site there is no evidence of the site being developed previously as the land is in a 100% natural state. There is no evidence on site of degradation by a former use or activity and therefore cannot be considered as brownfield.
There have been over 110 objections received regarding this application including objections from Dunblane Community Council and the Holmehill Community Buyout Group.
An application was submitted in 2012 for the development of this site. This application was refused.
Image: Architect’s Drawing of the Proposed House