Controversial Lochalsh housing development is being recommended for approval

The development is planned for land beside Auchtertyre Primary

Planners will tomorrow recommend that permission in principle be granted for a new 38 house development in a Lochalsh village – despite local fears over scale, flood-risk and the loss of school ground.

Private landowners Lochalsh Estates Limited have submitted a masterplan for the houses on a five-hectare site beside the primary school at Auchtertyre.

The community councils of Lochalsh and Dornie, as well as several local households, have objected to the scheme.

Highland Council’s education department has withdrawn its earlier concerns after the applicants promised to compensate the local authority for the loss of land.

The developer has also committed to a contribution towards a future upgrade of the school.

A map of the proposed site

Auchtertyre pupils had written to object to the loss of their playground.

A public meeting to allow residents to have their say was scheduled on 23rd March, only to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Lochalsh community council’s objection letter said the development was “disproportionate in scale to the size of the existing village”.

They said the developers had failed to detail community benefits, and the ratio of public and elderly housing needed to be addressed to make better provision for local needs.

They also suggested the proposed road layout “needed rethinking” to alleviate traffic in the village.

Council planners have said any development would be subject to a section 75 agreement, stipulating that at least 25 per cent of the houses must be classed as “affordable”.

The developer would also have to pay £2,600 per unit towards upgrading school accommodation.

The layout as proposed

The submission from the council’s care and learning department said: “In broad terms we are satisfied that Lochalsh Estates Limited is committed to providing compensation to offset negative impacts on the school site by providing additional areas of land, a new access road and drop-off area to the back of the school, and management of the land at the front of the school for access by the local community and continued safe access to pupils.”

The proposals have reduced the original masterplan from 44 to 38 houses.

A previous attempt for a 30-house scheme on the same site was refused in 1998.

The application will be heard at a meeting of the north planning applications committee, held online, tomorrow (Tuesday 9th June at 10.30 am).

This meeting will be filmed and broadcast over the internet on the Highland Council website