“We’ve been ignored” — Residents face up to final defeat in bizarre Dundee housing estate land dispute

Residents in a Dundee cul-de-sac have labelled a development they have been fighting for two years as an “accident waiting to happen”.

Householders in Gotterstone Drive were left bemused by a planning application on a plot of land that most house deeds said was public space in the middle of their street.

In fact, permission in principle existed to build a single house there. When a senior council figure then revealed similar patches of land had no protection, he was accused of declaring open season on the city’s prized green spaces.

© DC Thomson
Residents say their deeds show the patch of land was publicly owned and not open for development.

The single-house plan was initially rejected by Dundee City Council’s development management committee in May 2016, but permission was granted by the Scottish Government on appeal and finally passed — on a 15-11 vote — by the council this week.

Hazel Smith, who has been living on the street for more than 40 years, said: “We have been fighting this for two years. What we can’t understand is that ground has been vacant for at least 46 years and people did not know it was allocated to one house.

© DC Thomson
Hazel Smith’s house looks out on to the disputed patch of land.

“The council looked after it for years and the deeds say it’s public space.

“It’s going to create blind corner. We are a community that look out for each other and this will change that. It will create a hiding space for people who are up to no good.

“It could be an accident waiting to happen if drivers don’t see kids running and playing.

“When it’s all done it’s going to ruin our views. Everyone in the cul-de-sac objected to the house being built there, but we’ve been ignored.

“Someone should come out here between eight and nine in the morning or three and four in the afternoon to see how many cars park here for the kids at school. What are they going to do when all the construction vehicles are here?”

Referencing the Scottish Government report, which says that other public spaces are within walking distance, she said: “It’s all fair to say we have Dawson Park nearby, but if you have got small children that’s across a busy road.

“And all the deeds are going to have to be changed now if someone wants to sell their house. It’s a bizarre situation.”

She also questioned what will happen to a lamppost, postbox and dog waste bin currently on the grass.

“The council must have thought they owned the land before putting them there,” she said.

Another objector, Laura Black, said she would not have bought her house had she known there was a chance of another being built so close.

“We just feel so deflated because of the fight we put up,” she added. “We will have a look at the plans and see if there is anything we can object to but I’m not sure what we can do now.”

Laura and Hazel both said the land was used for occasions such as a jubilee celebration and they were allowed to close the road at such times.

Read more:

Planning chief raises fears that Dundee’s green spaces are fair game for development

Call for Dundee’s urban green space to be given special protection