Angus Council has been thrust into the centre of a Forfar housing site anthrax row.
The local authority has been urged to guarantee the safety of residents from “live anthrax spores”, should the 175-home development from Muir Homes be granted.
Elite Homes, also based in the town, previously objected to the Westfield proposal, warning of a “very real public health risk” from disturbing a historical anthrax burial site.
Carcases of farm livestock which may have been infected with the disease were buried at Westfield around the 1940s or 1950s.
Muir Homes quashed the concerns and said the area of contamination was “outside the application site” and “some 120 metres away from the nearest proposed home”.
Angus Council’s environmental protection officer also said he was satisfied the site “does not pose a significant risk of harm to the proposed use from land contamination”.
That has not satisfied Elite Homes, which has now lodged a further response.
It said the Angus Council officer’s statement makes no reference to whether the site poses any risk to human health – no matter how small.
The company said it sought its own advice on the issue from EnviroSurvey who reviewed the contamination report and concluded that “significantly more information should be obtained on the anthrax area”.
The statement read: “This is an issue of the upmost concern for the health and safety of the people of Forfar and as such a full desk-based element risk assessing the anthrax issue should be undertaken.
“In EnviroSurvey’s considerable experience, and after discussion with other local authorities throughout Scotland, there appears to be no precedent of new residential development in such proximity to a recognised anthrax burial site.
“It is clear that a cordon sanitaire is required around the known anthrax burial site.
“The standard cordon sanitaire around an intensive livestock operation, slurry or sewage store is 400m.
“This is to protect against odour but also airborne disease.
“We would suggest a similar buffer would be appropriate to protect public health at Westfield.
“Therefore, on the basis of this additional information we would reiterate our request that Angus Council planning service provide an absolute and evidence based guarantee to reassure the elected members and the residents of Forfar that any proposed development at Westfield will not result in any dispersion of live anthrax spores and that there is no potential risk to the health and safety of the people of Forfar should consent for the development of this site be granted.”
A spokeswoman for Angus Council said the local authority is currently considering the planning application on the Westfield site.
She said: “Any representations and any potential issues with contaminated land will be fully considered in determining the application.”
Muir Homes said it had forwarded the details of the latest objection to their specialist consultants to review and they would not comment at this stage.