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Affordable homes in Kingussie get the green light

By Gavin Musgrove

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Plans for 23 affordable new homes in Kingussie have been welcomed by members of the Cairngorms National Park Authority's planning committee.

Davall Developments Ltd is behind the housing given the go-ahead at the latest virtual committee meeting for land 115 metres north east of Craig An Darach on the east side of the town.

Plans to build up to 300 homes at the east end of Kingussie had been initially agreed in principle by the CNPA's planning committee in spring 2010 after a vote and was expected to take 15 years to complete but work on the ground was never started.

Committee member Willie Munro had sought clarification at the meeting, asking: "It is for 100 per cent affordable housing which is great and is to be welcomed but is this the affordable element of the larger allocation for this part of Kingussie or 100 per cent affordable housing standalone."

CNPA head of planning Gavin Miles responded: "The land is actually owned by Highland Council now and the current proposal is for 18 social rented houses by the local authority and five lets by Alybn Housing Association who still have to carry out a final market analysis.

"The council is examining whether to put in few low cost home ownership rather than social rented properties but that will depend on the results of an appraisal nearer to completion of the development."

This latest site had formed part of a much larger development granted planning permission for the same developer for the town but which has since expired.

Committee member Pippa Hadley had said she was still not 100 per cent certain how this proposal fitted into the picture of developing the bigger site in terms of affordable housing.

Mr Miles explained: "The whole site is going to come forward over a very long period of time I suspect as it will not be built out in one go. I am quite sure the developer will want to make an argument that they are providing affordable housing here and mid-market housing approved at the previous committee so that when a future application comes in then this will be taken into account.

"Obviously every application has to be considered on its merits but that would make sense in this case. The level of affordable housing being proposed here would not cover the whole of the (larger) site."

After approval had been given, committee chairwoman Eleanor Mackintosh welcomed the decision and said it would provide opportunities for housing for families in this part of the national park.

The site’s eastern boundary follows the line of General Wade’s Military Road. It is currently fields covering approximately 1.36 hectares, sloping northwards with the property Craig-an-Darach lying to the west within the site.

There will be a mix of one, two and three bedroom properties, and one four bedroom house. Access will be taken directly from the A86 trunk road.

The layout proposes a spine road with houses along the west side and two short cul-de-sacs to the east. The dwellings will be a mix of bungalows and two storey homes incorporating traditional proportions, features and finishing materials.

No representations had been made for or against the application.

Robbie Calvert, CNPA graduate planner had said in his recommendation for approval: "The proposed development is for 100 per cent affordable housing in a location where it will help meet local need.

"The site is considered capable of being developed and serviced in this way without significant landscape or environmental effects."

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