Planners are recommending the green light for 100 new houses on the site of Forfar’s former guide dogs training centre – more than a decade after the closure of the facility.
A mix of two, three and four-bed houses is being proposed by developer Scotia Homes – including 15 affordable homes – on the 5.3 hectare Dundee Road site where Princess Alexandra House stood for more than four decades until the charity moved to a new centre at Orchardbank business park in the town.
Guide Dogs was granted outline approval for up to 120 houses on the land as far back as 2006, but the economic downturn led to a struggle to find a developer and the site has remained empty since the centre’s demolition in 2007.
The development is arranged predominantly around a central spine road running east-west and connecting to the existing access serving the site from Dundee Road.
But while the proposal is set to generate a significant six-figure education windfall and has received a conditional approval recommendation from Angus planners ahead of a development standards committee decision on Tuesday, it has also led to almost 30 letters of objection, including a petition containing more than 50 signatures of local residents.
They say the site is not fully integrated and are concerned about other issues including amenity impacts on existing residential properties and local habitats, parking and open space provision.
There is also opposition to a proposal to create a new junction on Northampton Road to serve ten of the new homes.
Planners state: “The roads service has advised that use of Northampton Road by the traffic associated with an additional ten houses does not give rise to any unacceptable impacts in terms of road traffic or pedestrian safety and is acceptable.”
The committee report adds: “In terms of the residential amenity to be created, the proposed plot sizes and associated private garden areas are broadly typical of those found in modern residential developments.
“This is a brownfield site located within the Forfar development boundary.
“The site is safeguarded for a housing development of 120 units by the Angus local development plan.
“The layout and design of the proposed development responds to the constraints of the site and provides a reasonable level of amenity for the new residents with no unacceptable impact on the amenity of occupants of existing nearby residential property.
“The proposal would increase the number of vehicles on the local road network but the roads service is satisfied that the levels indicated can be safely accommodated without adverse impact.”
Conditions recommended by planning officials for approval of the bid include a contribution of £5,253 per house towards the improvement of the secondary school infrastructure in Forfar and a financial contribution of £28,900 which will be used to upgrade the Steele Park play facilities.