A community group is fighting plans to build a sheltered housing complex next to a noisy sawmill in a Highlands town.
People in Nairn have already forced developers Albyn into adjusting plans for the site at Cawdor Road to avoid the destruction of an 88ft tree, which dates back 150 years.
Though the proposal has been amended to spare the giant sequoia Wellingtonia, one of only three in the town, there remain concerns that other mature trees would need to be torn down to make way for the new housing.
And Hamish Bain of Nairn River Community Council warned that the chosen location, near the town’s hospital, is also too close to a sawmill.
He predicted that noise from timber lorries and the sawing of wood, starting at 6am and continuing well into the evening, would disturb the development’s residents.
He said: “If the homes are built in an area where there is already existing noise, residents will have no right to complain.”
The proposal is for a complex of 10 “fit homes”, offering supported living for people with medical needs.
Mr Bain added that he supported the idea of more such housing – just not at that site.
He said: “The problem is they are now proposing to build two two-storey homes to accommodate the new footprint.
“These would have outside stairs and no lifts, and we are not convinced this is appropriate for the clients who will be living there.”
The council’s forestry officer has raised no objection to a 60ft wych elm and two sycamores of around the same height being brought down, along with some semi-mature yew trees.
Nairn River chairman, Tommy Hogg, said: “Digging the foundations will be very hard with these mature tree roots.”
The council’s environmental health department says that, if permission is granted for the development, it will impose a number of noise level and noise mitigation conditions.
South planning committee councillors will tomorrow visit the site prior to determining the application later in the day.
Lucy Fraser, head of innovation at Albyn, said: “We welcome this opportunity to provide a tour of the site to Highland Council planners and stakeholders, as this will enable us to outline our vision for this innovative project.
“It is important to remember that Fit Homes are for everyone – not just the elderly.
“If this trial proves successful, then we can offer this assisted living solution to so many more people, helping them to integrate wellbeing into their homes and lives long term.
“Furthermore, by locating the trial site close to the hospital, we will be able to facilitate close partnership working with the NHS, which has always been central to the FitHome initiative.”