Community leaders have warned of public protests if a housebuilder is allowed to drive an access road for a new 100-home development through greenbelt on the edge of Inverness.
Councillors are being steered by their planning officials to approve Tulloch’s proposal, when they consider the details today for the site at Bogbain Farm, Inshes, on the northeast edge of Milton of Leys.
The route, accessing a 25-acre plot, would run through greenbelt and close to a pond.
Inverness South SNP councillor Ken Gowans claimed that a recent public consultation on the planning application had proved a “humouring exercise” because it failed to take on board strong opposition to the proposed location of the road.
“The entire community feel very strongly about this,” he said. “They’ll be out with placards if the road goes there.
“I don’t like to criticise our own officers but they seem to think it’s okay to recommend something that clearly goes against policy – the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan.”
Echoing that, George Moodie, who lives in nearby Redwood Avenue, said: “The area was previously classified as a ‘green wedge’ by a government reporter when it last went through planning.
“They’re now planning 25 more homes than the reporter considered the ‘maximum’ last time. This should be rejected purely from a credibility point of view.”
A spokesman for Tulloch Homes emphasised that the site was promoted for residential use within the local plan in 2015, with access to the north of the pond.
“This was accepted by planning officials and the reporter,” he said. “Since then, Tulloch Homes has investigated whether an alternative might exist and has twice consulted with the public.”
He added that there were “significant engineering and ecological impacts arising from the effect on the pond of an alternative access.”
And he said the Scottish Environment Protection Agency had advised against a route that “impacted on any water bodies.”
The chosen access route would be “set back from the pond,” according to Tullochs, and “retain a very substantial green corridor from present neighbouring houses.”
The application will be considered by the south area planning committee today.