Councillors have granted planning permission for the final 47 homes in Inverness’ Westercraigs homes development.
Robertson Homes is entering the final phase of its 550 home masterplan at the site of the former Craig Dunain hospital.
The developer had two planning applications up for consideration at today’s meeting of the south planning committee. The first, for 36 two-bed flats and 11 three-bed homes as the final phase of the development.
The second application provided more detail on the adjacent 30-home site.
Councillors approved both applications, but issued a warning to Robertson Homes over the delivery of planning conditions.
‘Take local people with you’
Councillor Bill Boyd said feeling locally is that the homes are going up faster than the amenities are being provided.
Mr Boyd said the community liaison group had “faded away” and suggested there should be a short pause in building to allow the developer to make good on its community commitments.
Robertson Homes is due to deliver two play parks and a community event space within the Westercraigs site. The developer provided further details in its report to today’s committee, but Mr Boyd wanted to know when they would deliver.
“There are a lot of great things happening here but we have to take local people with us,” said Mr Boyd.
Highland Council planners said it was unreasonable to “hold the developer to ransom” until planning conditions were met.
However, committee chairman Jimmy Gray agreed that the council needs to send a strong message.
“There’s very little sense having conditions if they’re not complied with,” he said.
Mr Gray added that he could understand local members’ frustrations.
Play parks due in the summer
Robertson Homes has set out detailed plans for residential amenities at Westercraigs as part of today’s papers.
The developer has moved the play park to the south of the site, and agreed to retain four mature trees to screen the area. The play park will include a zip line, climbing frame and natural play materials.
Paths will be upgraded throughout the site to encourage walking and cycling, and give access to the Great Highland Way.
The developer has a separate planning application for the old chapel on site, which it plans to convert to a community space and shop.
Robertson Homes have told the council the play parks will be finished this summer. They are also making moves to reinstate the community liaison group.
With those reassurances, councillors granted planning permission.