Public hearing to decide fate of care home plan

THE application to build a 30-bed residential care home in Ascog will be decided at a public hearing in Rothesay.

Members of Argyll and Bute Council’s planning, protective services and licensing committee (PPSL) decided on Wednesday that because of the number of representations both for and against the application, by local developer Ian Woollcott, it would be appropriate to determine the application at a discretionary hearing of the committee.

The hearing will consider issues of road safety and the possible impact on wildlife, trees and neighbouring properties - all matters raised by objectors during the application process.

A date and venue have yet to be decided, although the committee did confirm on Wednesday that the hearing would take place in Rothesay.

The council’s planning department has recommended approval of the application; the authority’s head of planning, Angus Gilmour, told PPSL members on Wednesday that a positive view had been taken of the application because of the traditional finish to the proposed building, the fact that the site - north of Ascog Mansion - is in an established ‘settlement zone’, and the presence of other large buildings with extensive grounds which, in the council’s view, would not make such a development out of character in the area.

PPSL members did not, however, look so favourably on an application to convert the former Rothesay Free Church, on the town’s Chapelhill Road, into a combined business premises and dwelling house.

The application, by Rothesay resident Hugh Cole, was turned down on the grounds that the windows of the proposed development would be out of keeping with the age of the building, that the level of raised decking proposed was too high, and that there were not enough parking spaces in the area for the building’s proposed use as a business premises.

Mr Gilmour told the meeting the planning department believed the building would be more suitable as a single dwelling, and said the authority would be happy to work with the applicant in the future if he wished to reconsider his plans.