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Outrage as controversial Perthshire housing developments given go-ahead

Lathro Farm.
Lathro Farm.

Campaigners have slammed a Scottish Government decision to overturn two controversial housing estate plans in Kinross-shire as a “democratic outrage”.

Government planning chiefs  issued a “notice of intent” to allow 169 new houses at the crisis hit Lathro Farm development in Kinross while simultaneously approving 67 homes at Pitdownies in Milnathort.

Both developments were rejected by Perth and Kinross Council last year after following hundreds of objections.

The double blow for campaigners, with both decisions delivered in one day, prompted fury from the local community.

Kevin Heneghan, spokesman for the Pitdownies Action Group, called the action “a kick in the teeth.”

He said: “The concerns residents have regarding the huge increase in traffic the development will bring in and around the village and well-founded fears about the strain on local infrastructure have been blatantly ignored by the reporter.

“We produced evidence that demonstrated the negative impact on Loch Leven,  which is a Site for Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a National Nature Reserve (NNR), and a Special Protected Area (SPA), but this seems to have counted for nothing.

“The Scottish Government Reporter’s decision to allow the appeal and therefore enable the Pitdownies development to go ahead is yet another kick in the teeth for the residents of the area.”

Protesters have long voiced concerns about road access to the proposed development which would be coupled with another 80-house development already under construction at Pace Hill, less than half-a-mile away.

The primary concern among residents is access to the new Pitdownies development via a residential street off Wester Loan which is already a notorious bottleneck.

He added: “We accept that some housing development has to take place, but not on this scale and at this rate.”

Meanwhile, the likelihood of the Lathro Farm development getting the go ahead was branded a “democratic outrage”.

Councillor Callum Purves of the Kinross-shire ward said: “This is a democratic outrage.

“Local residents are sick to the back teeth of bureaucrats riding roughshod over local democracy and overturning decisions taken by local councillors.

“This latest application for the Lathro Meadows development tries to cram yet more houses onto a site that is already bursting at the seams and completely throws the Local Development Plan out the window.

“It fails to have any regard for concerns about Loch Leven, drainage, road safety or pressure on local infrastructure in Kinross and wider Kinross-shire.”

The Planning and Environmental Appeals Division (DPEA) issued a notice of intention  in which it was “minded to allow the appeal and grant planning permission” for the building of 169 houses on phase 2 of Lathro Farm.

The decision comes amid concerns over road safety for local school pupils and ease of access.

The DPEA report – written by David Buylla, principal reporter at the Scottish Government – allowed the Pidownie work to go ahead subject to a list of criteria, after it was unanimously rejected by councillors last February.

The report into Lathro Farm said the development’s environmental impact would not be significant.

The report read: “I am satisfied that the location of the proposal and the characteristics of its potential impact in terms of its extent, magnitude, complexity, probability, duration, frequency and reversibility, would not be so significant that formal environmental impact assessment would be required.

“Taking all matters into consideration and for the reasons set out above, I find that the proposal is in overall compliance with the development plan and that there are no material considerations that would justify withholding planning permission.”

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