A group who fought unsuccessfully to block a controversial housing development on the edge of Kinross has claimed that “the system is stacked against local communities.”
The Scottish Government is poised to overturn an appeal against Persimmon Home’s bid for 169 homes at Lathro Park.
The plan was rejected by councillors in July, amid fears it could lead to sewage water seeping into nearby Loch Leven.
However, the government’s appeals division has issued a “notice of intent” to allow the development – a decision dubbed by opponents “a democratic outrage”.
The move has angered the Kinross-shire Civic Trust, which voiced fears that a combination of poor drainage and a sharp rise in properties was affecting water quality at the loch.
The group also highlight problems with the first phase of the Lathro Farm site. In June 2019, Persimmon apologised to residents when it emerged the new homes were not entirely legal. They had been unlawfully occupied without proper documentation in place.
That came just days after Perth and Kinross Council had to fence off streets at the estate, because some of the homes had been built without full consent.
A spokesman for the civic trust said he was “alarmed” by the Scottish Government’s findings.
He said that it rendered Local Development Plan – the blueprint for development in Perth and Kinross – as “virtually meaningless” given that 372 houses are now earmarked for the Lathro site, which was originally zone for 260.
“This is an area where allocation of housing is supposed to be 10% lower than normal, due to the sensitivity of Loch Leven,” he said.
The group said that among the biggest concerns about phase one was the state of drains, which a representative of Persimmon had last year blamed on too many residents using wet wipes. The company walked back on the statement a few weeks later.
The civic trust’s spokesman added: “The system is stacked against local communities. It is just so undemocratic that the decision made by local councillors is over-ruled by one Scottish Government official.”
Responding to the appeals decision, James MacKay, managing director at Persimmon Homes North Scotland, said: “We are pleased with the Scottish Government’s decision to support our housing mix, that reflects the significant demand from first time buyers in this location.”