Plans to build more than 70 new homes in Boat of Garten have been deferred by the Planning Committee of the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), meeting in the village today (Friday 7 January).
Following a site meeting this morning and a lengthy debate in the nearby Boat of Garten Community Hall, members put on hold the development on the grounds that measures to minimise the risk to nationally and internationally important species be further explored.
The project – proposed by Davall Developments – had been recommended by planning officials for refusal on the following grounds:
- the site proposed for development is not included in the Cairngorms National Park Local Plan
- The development is not in keeping with the special characteristics of the site.
- Nationally and internationally important species would be put at serious risk.
However, members voted 8 votes to 7 in favour of the application being deferred to allow the applicant to bring forward more detailed and comprehensive measures to demonstrate that the application will not adversely impact on capercaillie and red squirrel.
Davall Developments submitted the application in 2008 for 45 private houses and the formation of five self-build discounted plots, 16 affordable rented homes and 16 shared equity homes with associated road and paths works. Also among the proposals is the provision of a site for a new primary school or other community facility in the future. The application was only heard by the CNPA planning committee today due to delays in the provision of key environmental information.
The community council had pleaded that the development be given the go-ahead in order to meet the overwhelming need for new housing in Boat of Garten.
Addressing the committee, CNPA planning officer Andrew Tait said: “We know there is a serious and urgent need for affordable housing in Boat of Garten but there is a strong body of evidence against this site for development.
“Government reporters have twice considered this site and have consistently disagreed with development in this area due to its importance nationally and internationally for capercaillie and red squirrel, especially in relation to neighbouring Special Protection Areas for capercaillie – one of Scotland’s most threatened species.”
Duncan Bryden, CNPA Planning Committee Convener said: “This has been a very difficult application to determine with valid arguments on both sides in terms of the needs of the community and the need to protect the natural heritage of the area.”
You can read this planning paper here. (Paper 1)