A drop-in consultation on the proposed Argyll and Bute Local Development Plan was held in Rothesay on Tuesday - although the documents contain few surprises for those familiar with the planning process.
For those who aren’t (and there may be quite a few!), the LDP’s proposals for Bute contain a combination of potential development areas, potential housing allocations, business and industrial zones and ‘areas for action’.
Almost all the proposed development zones already appear in the existing Argyll and Bute Local Plan, which was finally adopted in 2009 after years of consultation, amendments and hearings.
The only site contained in the LDP which was not already included in the Local Plan is a potential development area in the island’s community forest at Rhubodach, added after representations from the Bute Community Land Company to smooth the way for its proposals to build a forest centre, lodges and other community facilities.
There are four ‘areas for action’ in the Kyles of Bute, Port Bannatyne waterfront, Rothesay town centre and waterfront and the existing industrial and business area bounded by Barone Road and High Street.
All bar the last are listed as suitable for ‘strategic’ development, with the Kyles of Bute designation aimed at access improvements, Port Bannatyne for ‘waterfront development and environmental infrastructure’, Rothesay for ‘town centre/harbour development and management’ (part of the existing town centre ‘CHORD’ project) and the Barone Road/High Street site for ‘development and environmental enhancement’.
Five potential development areas (PDAs) are listed as suitable for low or medium density housing - one at Gortans Road in Port Bannatyne, three in the area of Ardbeg Farm/Ardmory Road, and one on Westlands Road on the site of the old Rothesay Academy.
None of the four PDAs list the number of houses which would be suitable on each site, though each comes with a caveat that a quarter of any homes built should be ‘affordable’.
However, three specific ‘housing allocation’ sites are also listed - one on the site of the former Kyles Hydro in Port Bannatyne, one behind the existing houses in Rothesay’s Barone Road, and one at Eastlands Park in Ardencraig, where development has already begun.
‘Business and industry’ allocations at Union Street in Rothesay and at Townhead are also included in the LDP, though in both cases the intention is to protect the two areas’ existing industrial use rather than open them up for new development.