THE Scottish Government is backing a controversial housing development on fields at Kilmacolm.
Inverclyde Council has already come out in favour of Mactaggart & Mickel Homes Ltd building 75 properties at Kilmacolm Meadow, west of Quarry Drive.
But Scottish Ministers stepped in to have the final say on the proposal because it was felt that the application raised issues of national significance “with regard to the interpretation and application of Scottish Planning Policy”.
Nearly 500 villagers objected to the development.
The Government has now confirmed it agrees with the conclusion of its planning Reporter who believes permission should be given, subject to conditions and legal agreements being reached over several matters.
A document published by the Planning and Environmental Appeals Division states: “Ministers agree with the Reporter that the adverse impacts of the proposed development would not outweigh the benefits.
“The proposed development would result in the loss of some informal open space, but Ministers agree with the Reporter that this is not a significant disadvantage of the proposed development, noting that the Reporter saw numerous alternatives when he visited the site.
“Ministers also consider that, as there is a shortfall in the housing land supply (whichever method is used to calculate the five year target), the presumption in favour of development that contributes to sustainable development is a significant material consideration.
“Scottish Ministers are minded to grant permission in principle for the proposed development subject to conditions and agreement securing 25 per cent of on-site accommodation as affordable and a developer contribution towards off-site works that will improve the walking and cycling environment in Kilmacolm.
“Ministers agree with the Reporter that the details of the off-site works should be left to the council and the applicant to agree but are likely to include improvements to footways between the application site and the village centre and a lowering of the speed limit on Port Glasgow Road, to the west of the site.
“Accordingly, Scottish Ministers hereby defer their formal decision on the planning application, in the first instance for a period of six months, to enable the relevant obligation, or other suitable arrangement, to be completed and registered or recorded to Ministers’ satisfaction.”
Mactaggart & Mickel have previously said they are committed to the delivery of affordable homes on the Quarry Drive site and “welcome the opportunity to engage with the council to discuss how the council would like to see these affordable homes delivered”.