Views sought on Turfbeg housing plans

THE DEVELOPERS behind plans to provide around 300 new homes on a site allocated for housing at Turfbeg are hoping for a good turnout from local people at two public consultation events in the Reid Hall this week.

Mark Guild and Norman McLagan, directors of Elite Homes (Tayside) Limited, are anxious to meet with the public, to hear their views on the £50 million plus investment and to lead the development forward. The lodging of their pre-application notification with Angus Council in March for their proposed development was the culmination of years of research into their plans for the area, which were included in the adopted Angus Local Plan Review in 2009.

Mr Guild said: “The site at Turfbeg was considered in detail at the time of the Angus Local Plan Review in 2009. This document was started in 2003 with the production of the Consultative Draft Local Plan. This comprehensive process lasted six years with the Plan adopted in 2009.”

The directors have asked for clarification on a recent press article which suggested there were “concerns over the suitability of the Turfbeg site”.

They set the record straight by pointing out that, in Forfar, there were two main sites competing for the long term residential development - Westfield and Turfbeg.

Mr Guild continued: “Both sites were subject to detailed examination including detailed landscape assessment, traffic analysis, ecological and archaeological studies, consideration of the availability of infrastructure, accessibility of the sites and consideration of the need for new housing within the town.

“The sites were considered in detail at the time of two Public Local Enquiries into the Angus Local Plan. Reporters appointed by the Scottish Government, experts in their field, considered all the information put before them, in terms of the site.

“In terms of the site at Westfield the Reporter concluded that, in terms of the visual impact the development would be “significantly adverse and the landscape setting of Forfar would be reduced to an unacceptable extent”. As a result they chose to safeguard land at Turfbeg for residential development with associated community facilities.”

The directors of Elite Homes (Tayside) Limited are heartened Angus Council agreed with this conclusion and adopted the Angus Local Plan which included Policy F9 within the Forfar settlement statement which safeguarded the lands at Turfbeg for possible future housing and community facilities.

Furthermore, the recent Angus Local Development Plan Main Issues report confirmed Angus Council’s preferred direction for growth within Forfar as being to the north, on land at Turfbeg.

Having secured support from all the statutory bodies, including the Scottish Government, Angus Council, Historic Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage, Elite Homes (Tayside) Limited and their associated company Guild Homes (Tayside) Limited have now begun the planning process with the hope that, if all permissions are successful, the initial infrastructure works can start on site in 2015 with an expectation of the first housing completion in 2016.

Company representatives have already consulted with local residents whose properties bound the Turfbeg site - 14 in Taylor Street and nine in Lochbank - where only three have objected in the main issues responses.

During discussions they have listened to the residents and have taken on board and acted on initial concerns including provision of landscaping and bungalow house styles.

The mixed development, comprising a residential development with associated roads, landscaping and community facilities, will have access from the Kirriemuir Road.

They are now keen to meet the public in the Lesser Reid Hall this Friday from 4 to 8 p.m., and on Saturday from 12 noon to 4 p.m.

All neighbours, residents and interested parties are invited to attend and view the proposed draft master plan. The directors urge the local community to come forward this weekend with their views.

They concluded: “We want to outline the basis of our proposals; they will not be detailed as our final proposal will be based on this public consultation.”