Housing plan is deferred to local hearing

THE fate of a planning application to build three detached houses on land formerly occupied by the grounds of the old Kyles Hydro will be determined at a public hearing in Rothesay this month.

Argyll and Bute Council’s planning, protective services and licensing committee has agreed to hold a local hearing to decide whether to go along with planning officials’ recommendation that the plans be approved.

The proposed development, as we reported last week, is to be sited on land formerly occupied by the Kyles Hydro Hotel in Port Bannatyne, with construction access proposed via Gortans Road in Ardbeg.

A petition against the development containing 75 signatures was circulated in June and July of 2011 and submitted to the council.

Seven months on, we’ve spoken to four residents of the Ardbeg area who signed the petition – Grace Strong, Bill Lavender, Moira Gray and David Peveril - to ask their views on the development as it stands today.

Grace Strong told us: “At the time there was quite a case against it, but as time’s gone on, as long as it’s tastefully done and doesn’t encroach upon the privacy of nearby neighbours, I wouldn’t object.

“Now that I’ve had time to think about it, if there was a decent road put in there I think it would be to the benefit of everyone in the area.”

Bill Lavender said: “I’ve known that road since a child. It was an asphalt road then.

“The material was from the boiler room in the old Hydro and that was the surface and I learned to cycle there. Now I walk my dog along that way,

“I just don’t like the idea of the traffic that could build up along there. I feel this is just the beginning of something bigger.

“I think there was an application for a bigger number of houses and if it goes through, it could set a precedent for further, larger developments.

“This is going to be right alongside the road, whereas the other neighbouring houses are all back from the road. It will spoil what is essentially a country road.”

Moira Gray said: “As far as I’m concerned, the Hydro Road is Bute Estate property.

“We paid to have it tarmacadamed, and it is in a terrible state now, but we can’t afford to keep renewing it. Anyone who wants to build there would need to do something about the road.”

David Peveril: “I feel it should be looked at very carefully. We signed against it because I think the houses were rather close to the frontage of the road, and the site prevents them from being moved further back.

“That road is in a parlous state right now, without having more traffic running over it.

“Until there are guarantees that the road can be fit for purpose, it’d be wrong to permit further development up there.”

An assessment of the application by the council’s planning officials states that “the access road will require upgrading due to its poor surface and it is likely that a number of passing places will require to be formalised”.

“In this regard,” the assessment continues, “it is proposed to attach a suspensive condition that requires a programme of works to be agreed and undertaken prior to the commencement of development on the site.”