RIVER Clyde Homes have won their appeal against Inverclyde Council’s refusal of a 42-house development on the site of a former school in Greenock. The council will have to pay some of River Clyde Homes’s appeal expenses.
Inverclyde Planning Board voted 4:3 in November 2011 to reject the application for 34 semi-detached houses and two terraces each with four houses at the former Springfield School between Banff Road and Nairn Road. The board had concerns about road safety, flooding and the height of the building.
Eighty-one letters of objection had been sent to the council over the plan. Roads officials had also objected because nine houses on the section of Berwick Road which led into the school grounds would lose their off-street parking as that road would no longer be a cul-de-sac but the entrance to the new estate.
However planning officials had recommended approval for the development. They said it was inappropriate to make River Clyde Homes provide parking for houses unconnected with their application.
River Clyde Homes appealed to the Scottish Government over the refusal and their planning expert has ruled that the house can be built.
Government Reporter Alasdair Edwards, in his report, said: “I acknowledge that the previous experiences of local objectors and the planning board’s own local knowledge of flood events in the area are valuable in identifying the issue. However, there is no evidence to contradict the findings of the comprehensive flood risk assessment undertaken by the appellant.
“Each of the proposed houses would have its own private driveway allowing sufficient off-street parking in accordance with the council’s Roads Development Guidelines. In addition, on-street parking opportunities would be created along the newly extended Berwick Road in the new development, which would be likely to allow at least 10 standard sized cars to park.”
He concluded: “The proposal would enable a vacant, derelict and brownfield site to be developed to the benefit of the area and a wider regeneration programme. It would also provide affordable housing to acceptable design and amenity standards in keeping with the character and appearance of the area.”
Mr Edwards decided the council should pay some of River Clyde Homes’s expenses towards the appeal. He considered that the council had presented flooding as a reason for refusal without reasonable grounds to do so and had failed to support that reason adequately at appeal. That had caused River Clyde Homes to incur unnecessary expense in relation to extra work carried out to respond to the flooding argument. Mr Edwards said: “It is on this basis only that a partial award should be calculated between parties.”
The 42-home project was part of a wider regeneration programme of 126 homes over three sites, marking an investment of £14.4m in the area.
Ward Councillor Innes Nelson, pictured at the site of current construction in Larkfield, said: “Although planning permission has now been granted, the Larkfield regeneration project has been delayed for at least eight months. As the grant aid available for building new homes had a time stipulation on it, the project may not now attract the same funding. This could put River Clyde Homes in the unenviable position of having to make up the difference in funding in order to complete the project.”