A controversial housing plan at Bridge of Earn has been approved by councillors, despite fears it could aggravate flooding problems.
Just days after torrential downpours caused chaos in the Perthshire town, developers have won planning consent to build 80 homes on grassland close to where the most recent flooding took place.
The scheme attracted more than 30 objections from nearby residents who argued that the development would only add to the area’s long-standing flooding woes.
Opponents also said the project went against the council’s adopted development plan – which had earmarked the land for just 70 properties – and said the new properties could overshadow their homes.
But applicants King Group and Ogilvie Homes have denied that the scheme will cause more flooding.
“Given recent events, flooding and drainage issues will be uppermost in people’s minds,” said company spokesman Alston Birnie. “SEPA and the council flood team have both concluded that the submitted information will not have any adverse impact on flooding or drainage capacity in the area.”
Addressing the council’s development management committee, Mr Birnie said: “The events of Tuesday were clearly a result of the existing combined sewer at Kintillo Road not coping with a flash flood.
“The question should be, is there a risk of future flooding at this site specifically and the answer is quite simply no. This site is not within the SEPA flood map area and it would take a far greater deluge than we saw on Tuesday for any potentially inundation at these houses.”
The committee heard that the development would boost the local economy, while developers would contribute a six-figure sum towards local education and infrastructure.
Residents Jack Hands, who lives on the edge of the site, said developers were wrong about the flood risk. “The council needs to realise that this whole scheme cannot do anything other than exacerbate flooding problems,” he said.
Mr Hands said his main objection was that the scheme did not comply with the local development plan.
Perth City North councillor Callum Gillies has also raised concerns that SUDS – Sustainable urban drainage systems – were being built too close to a children’s playground.
“We’ll have a situation where children will be playing right next to a water hazard. What is being done to prevent a fatality here?”
Almond and Earn councillor Henry Anderson argued against the project saying he had concerns it could add to flooding problems. He said it was “excessively” beyond the local development plan and would lead to the loss of prime farming land.
But local councillor Alan Livingstone spoke out in favour. “80 houses is going to be welcome to the housing stock, particularly the 20 affordable homes which are included as part of this development,” he said.
“There is an economic impact here which I don’t think we should be bypassing or denying.”
The committee voted eight-four in favour of the scheme.