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Planning application for roads at proposed Kirkwall housing development approved – at third attempt

The application has been approved - at the third time of asking
The application has been approved - at the third time of asking

A planning application for roads and infrastructure at Corse West, Kirkwall, was given the thumbs up by Orkney’s planning committee on Wednesday.

However, concerns over the new roads creating a “rat run” in the area still remain.

The application, submitted by Orkney Council, also contains a water detention basin that would be used for new 138-house development in the area and a new care home to the north west of the site.

A final decision on the plans was deferred twice, last December and again in January as councillors weren’t satisfied. There were concerns that the new roads would be used in a way they weren’t designed for.

Councillors were worried that drivers would use them to cut across the town, from the Old Finstown Road to Pickaquoy Road, to get to the supermarkets and leisure centre.

Concern was also raised about an increase in vehicles using Muddisdale road, which is heavily used by walkers and children on their way to school.

Concerns over new roads creating ‘a rat run’

Nearby residents have also expressed their concern with a total of 25 objections attached to the application.

Ahead of Wednesday’s meeting, a site visit was held. Some changes have been implemented, including a new footpath, street lighting, and build-outs in the road at Muddisdale.

The plans have come under plenty of scrutiny in the past and there were more, as not all councillors were convinced by the new plans.

It came down to a seven-to-three vote to approve the plans or defer again.

Councillor Barbara Foulkes first tried to amend the recommendations and, when that wasn’t accepted, she moved to defer the decision.

She said: “I don’t believe officers have listened in full to the points that have been made by the elected members and to the objectors.

“Twenty-five objections is not a small amount. That road is not fit for purpose for this development.

Will drivers use new roads at planned Kirkwall housing development?

“It would create a rat run for all the future development that’s going to happen on the Old Finstown Road. Folk are not going to drive all the way around the town to get to Tesco, they’re going to come through that small development.”

At the vote, she only won the support of councillors David Dawson and Heather Woodbridge.

Councillor Sandy Cowie had previously been unconvinced by the plans. However, he said it was time to move things forward and the plans shouldn’t be deferred again.

He said: “I have sympathy for the case Mrs Foulkes has just made. But I’m reluctant to get into a situation whereby the situation is deferred and deferred and deferred. We need to make progress here.”

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