A housing association has appealed against the rejection of controversial plans for 12 new flats in the centre of a Highland town.
The Lochalsh and Skye Housing Association hope to build the flats and three new shops at a site on the corner of Main Street and Station Road in Kyle of Lochalsh.
But their plans were shot down after Highland Council’s north planning committee rejected the plans in October.
Councillors objected the plans on grounds that the scale and massing of the development would be “overdevelopment” and have an adverse impact on surrounding buildings.
Committee members also raised concerns about the impact the new build would have on parking in the town.
Now the housing association have appealed to the Scottish Government’s Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals.
The application also involves the demolition of the closed Mace Shop on the site, while parking would be provided by reconfiguring the current car park at Lochalsh Leisure Centre to create extra spaces.
Lachie MacDonald, chief executive of the housing association, said there was a “significant need for housing” in Kyle with more than 40 names on their list seeking social housing in the area.
He also described the current site as “dilapidated”.
He said: “We were certainly surprised when our application was refused by the committee given the strong support we had received from the council’s planning officers.
“Following detailed discussions with our planning consultants, they reckoned that we would should appeal the decision as they felt we had a realistic chance.
“It’s not a decision we have taken lightly but we believe it is the right approach.”
Councillors voted eight to two against the proposal, going against the advice of planning officials who had recommended that the scheme be approved.
Kyle councillor Audrey Sinclair sat out of the committee when the decision was taken as she is a board member of the housing association.
Last night she said: “As a local councillor I’m very keen to see something going ahead on the site as it is a bit of an eyesore.
“I do have my reservations about the impact it could have on parking which is a real issue in Kyle.”
Speaking at the meeting in October Councillor Biz Campbell, who led calls for the scheme to be rejected, said: “I am in favour of development there but not on this scale – it is far too big. To say there is parking is stupidity.”
The DPEA are yet to assign a reporter to handle the case.
The appeal will be settled following a site visit some time in the new year.