Local councillors have expressed their unease at an extensive mixed-use development proposed by Springfield Properties at Tore.
Springfield submitted a Proposal of Application Notice to the council’s north planning committee today. The proposal includes residential, business, retail and community facilities including a new primary school site.
The development is proposed across 87 hectares of agricultural land sitting south of the Tore roundabout.
Springfield’s public consultation materials say the development would create local jobs and apprenticeships, as well as driving investment in existing neighbourhoods and services.
However, the council has not included the site for development in its local development plan for the Inner Moray Firth.
Springfield held a virtual public consultation event on September 16 and has a second event scheduled for October 21.
Today’s submission to the planning committee is not a full planning application, but a Proposal of Application Notice to get initial feedback from local members.
Black Isle councillor Gordon Adam observed: “There has been extensive consultation and the community in Tore is very strongly opposed to the scale of this development.
“If granted it would cause a lot of local consternation.”
Development left out of council planning vision
Councillor Angela MacLean, representing Dingwall and Seaforth, is concerned that the proposed development lies outside of the council’s Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan.
The development plan is a work in progress and will go to council for consideration at the end of this year, before opening for further public comment next spring.
In the section relating to Tore, the report describes the village as a “strategically competitive location, central to Inner Moray Firth employment opportunities.”
However, council planners do not believe a large expansion of housing in Tore would benefit the community.
Instead, the plan proposes only ‘limited infill development’ within the capacity of the existing primary school and sewerage network.
‘There needs to be a lot more consultation’
Mrs MacLean said: “Local residents are rather concerned that this development is coming forward without it being in the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan.
“The Tore community feel they’ve already been split into four and this development would overwhelm the existing community.
“There needs to be a lot more consultation.”
More public discussion to take place
In response, planning officers confirmed that most of the area is not currently included in the development plan, and that if Springfield decide to progress to a full application this would need to be taken into account.
Members’ concerns were noted by the committee and further discussion will now take place at the next public consultation event on Thursday evening this week.
Further information about the proposals can be found on Springfield’s Tore public consultation portal.