A long-running planning application involving an Angus Travellers’ site near Kirriemuir has been thrown out by council planning chiefs.
The site, located 125m west of North Mains Croft in Logie, is currently occupied by a touring caravan, but under the new application, which in part is retrospective, the site would be expanded to include a chalet and utility block for laundry and toilet facilities, the siting of a touring caravan, hard-standing, and the erection of fencing.
The decision is the latest twist in a planning saga that began in 2013 when an application to construct a house and garage was refused, with the local authority serving an enforcement notice in 2016 demanding the removal of caravans, drainage and rubble, as well as the restoration of the site to greenfield condition, after discovering work on the site had begun without planning permission.
This was the subject of an appeal which was upheld by the Scottish Government, who varied the terms of the enforcement.
The council received a letter of representation objecting to the proposal, which raises the issues of visual impacts, unsuitable pattern of development, inadequate site access, lack of foul drainage details and the removal of mature trees at the wider site.
However, the applicant’s supporting case outlined the need and demand of the Gypsy/Travelling community in Angus, and current legislation relating to the Gypsy/Travelling community.
The application also argued that an undefined and unaddressed need had been created which allows a justification to be submitted for private, permanent sites, with the justification in this case being the development is designed to create a safe, secure and suitable living environment in the absence of any alternative site
In response, council officers noted that a site run by Dundee City Council, although within the boundary of Angus Council at Balmuir Wood, Tealing has twenty pitches, approximately ten of which are currently vacant.
Officers further noted that: “The caravan pitch to which the current application relates has been formed without requisite planning permission and in direct breach of the terms of an enforcement notice.”
“In addition, the applicant has also formed an area of hardstanding, which is being used for vehicle storage, to the north of the current application site.
“This has also been done without the requisite planning permission and in breach of the terms of an enforcement notice.”
Montrose and District SNP councillor Bill Duff, who sits on the development standards committee said: “There is of course the right of appeal, and all material considerations will be taken into account if the applicant chooses to exercise that right.”