Perth application puts brakes on Dundee roundabout revamp

Swallow roundabout, Dundee.
Swallow roundabout, Dundee.

Perth and Kinross Council could put the blocks on traffic upgrades needed for the construction of hundreds of new houses on the outskirts of Dundee.

Builders Springfield Properties want to increase the number of lanes on the A90 Swallow roundabout – which sits on the boundary between Dundee and Perth – and add traffic lights to ease vehicle flow created by the 1,300 homes it hopes to build in the area.

But the roundabout upgrade – first passed by Dundee City Council in 2015 – will now have to be approved by Perth and Kinross after it came to light that a quarter of the roundabout is in its jurisdiction.

Invergowrie residents are worried the enlarged roundabout will increase the number of drivers using the town as a “rat run” as motorists seek to dodge the bigger junction.

Carse of Gowrie councillors are appealing for residents to make their opinions known in the new consultation.

If sufficient objections are received by November 9 the application must go to Perth and Kinross planning committee early in the New Year.

If the application is then rejected, or modified, builders run the risk of having to reapply to Dundee planners, creating substantial delay, as the application moves between authorities.

Councils normally consider cross-border applications together, but as it only recently came to light part of the roundabout is in Perthshire, no joint consideration was given to the initial application.

© DC Thomson
Councillor Alan Ross.

Lochee SNP councillor Alan Ross said the upgrades would not have been approved by Dundee City Council were they not necessary for the Western Gateway development.

He said: “It could potentially cause a hold up. Obviously with the development of the Western Gateway it is something that is going to be needed – we wouldn’t be suggesting making these changes if it wasn’t appropriate.

“Of course, people have a right to be heard and express concerns but it could cause a delay,” he added.

Carse of Gowrie councillor Alasdair Bailey, Labour, who first highlighted that a portion of the roundabout was located within Perth and Kinross, welcomed the new planning application.

He said: “I called for Invergowrie residents to be consulted and it’s great to see that now in process. This is already a very busy roundabout and people have told me that they’re nervous that changes could increase rat-running through the town at busy times.”

He said the builders have committed to before-and-after traffic surveys and would fund mitigations in Invergowrie if the problem gets worse.

“I’m keen to hear what residents of Invergowrie think about the plans but residents should also put their feelings on paper through the formal planning process too,” he said.

A Springfield Properties spokesperson said the company submitted a masterplan to Dundee City Council in 2016 with a longer term vision to build a new village, Dykes of Gray, to the West of Dundee.

“This masterplan incorporated plans to ease congestion and improve the functionality of the Swallow roundabout.

“As part of the programme to deliver this masterplan, we have submitted our plans for the Swallow roundabout improvements to Perth and Kinross Council.

“The work at the roundabout, including the installation of traffic lights, will take approximately 30 weeks and we are expecting to complete the project by the end of 2019.”

A Dykes of Gray resident said traffic from the housing estate currently cleared the junction “in two or three minutes” and there were fears the upgrades would actually worsen congestion rather than improve it.

“Without a shadow of a doubt it’s good news than councillors have a chance to consider this again,” he said.

A Perth and Kinross council spokesperson said: “The application is currently under consideration and the relevant stakeholders are being consulted.”