The construction of six much needed “affordable” homes in Lochaber has been approved by councillors despite strong criticism of the design.
The south planning committee backed the Duror properties in a 10-7 vote after the architecture was variously described as “bland.”
Lochaber member Andrew Baxter was disappointed the single-storey development, planned for a site between Pineapple House guesthouse and St Adamnan’s Episcopal Church, was pursued “without alteration or consideration” after local consultation.
Fellow Lochaber member Thomas MacLennan felt they were “bland boxes” and committee colleague Donnie Kerr said they lacked design.
A vote followed on the grounds the design was contrary to the local plan because it was “bland and simplistic,” and amid concern about the safety of the road access.
Scott Donald of architects Kearney Donald Partnership said the site has been held by the council for more than 40 years and not developed in that time due to “extremely difficult ground conditions,” with a steep slope and significant peat deposits.
“Design,” he said, “is subjective and we’ve taken care to listen to and interpret planning guidance in order to deliver much needed affordable housing, keeping the design within simple building forms and clean detailing using practical materials – all of which works within constrained budgets.”
He added: “Lochaber Housing Association and the Highlands Small Communities Housing Trust should be applauded for developing these difficult sites to provide much need affordable homes.”