Ardentinny, Affordable Housing and the National Park’s Local Plan

Ardentinny residents who have asked the Park Authority to be kept up to date regarding Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park’s Local Plan will probably have received a ‘Local Plan Delivery Update – July 2012‘. This includes information on Draft Supplementary Planning Guidance Consultations (consultation date 20 August – 1 October) of which two refer to Callander and the third deals with Housing Development (including Affordable Housing).

In the Park’s ‘Draft Supplementary Planning Guidance Housing Development’ Document (Draft Housing Development in the Park SPG) 5.1 Policy HOUS1: New Housing Development in Settlements, Table 1 sets out the requirements for each settlement with the affordable housing requirement for Ardentinny being listed as 25%.

In order to try and clarify what this means we spoke to Stuart Mearns, Forward Planning Officer for the Park, and posed the following questions:

First we asked what the 25% referred to. Stuart explained that this is the target figure of affordable housing to be included in any housing development exceeding 4 units. He also said that this concurs with the Scottish Government’s benchmark for affordable housing within developments.

We then asked how the percentages of affordable housing requirement for each settlement were arrived at and were told that results of the Argyll and Bute Local Housing Strategy Consultation fed into these decisions.

Finally we asked if any developer has recently applied to build in Ardentinny and Stuart said he was not aware of any applications at the moment other than the Planning Application regarding the refurbishment of Ardentinny Hotel. He added that all submitted applications appear on their website.

If you have any further questions you would like answered, you can contact the Forward Planning team at the National Park Headquarters, Carrochan, Carrochan Road, Balloch, G83 8EG. Telephone 01389 722600, Email: localplan@lochlomond-trossachs.org.

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Housing development off ‘The Plan’

Many Ardentinny residents will by now have received a letter from the Scottish Government’s Directorate for Planning and Enviornmental Appeals to say that the examination into the unresolved issues raised in representations to the proposed Finalised Draft Local Plan has now finished and the report has been submitted to Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority. This report is now available on the National Park website where it confirms that the proposed plan to build housing south of Lochview is to be deleted from the Plan.

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Ardentinny in the local press…

Exemplary victory for the Ardentinny vuvuzelas as National Park Board backs down.
www.forargyll.com.

Ardentinny Housing Rethink.
Dunoon Observer & Argyllshire Standard.

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National Park Board unanimously accepts Park’s recommendation to remove Ardentinny housing proposal from Local Plan

Some of the community volunteers who participated in organising the petition this week.

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Board unanimously accepted the Park Authority’s recommendation to remove its Ardentinny housing proposal from the Local Plan. The Plan in its entirety will now go to the Reporter and, depending on the Reporter’s decision, it will be adopted or amended accordingly.

This remarkable decision was taken at the Board’s meeting at National Park Headquarters in Balloch on the 23 June 2010. It was the culmination of a 17-month-long campaign by local residents in objection to the Park’s proposal to build housing south of Lochview in Ardentinny and resulted in the Park Authority’s suggestion to make a ‘significant change’ to the finalised Draft Local Plan. That change being:

‘Ardentinny – H2 Site South of Lochview

Considering the number of objections and comments received regarding this site, it is recommended to remove H2 from Schedule 1: Housing Allocations. It is also recommended that the Ardentinny Proposals Map is amended to remove the allocation and the settlement boundary adjusted to follow the A880 road so the site lies outwith the boundary.

It is noted that under Policy HOUS3 New Housing Development Adjacent to Settlements, this site could come forward for development subject to the plan’s policies. If in the event that a planning application came forward for housing development on this site, community consultation would be undertaken as set out in the Planning etc. (Scotland) Act 2006.’

(Report NPA/02/2010/06 on the Consultation on the Finalised Draft Local Plan. Stuart Mearns, Forward Planning Manager).

On presenting the Consultation Document on the Finalised Draft Local Plan, Gordon Watson, Director of Planning and Rural Development, explained that the recommendation for change to the Housing Proposal for Ardentinny was due to the large number of objections from residents to the proposal together with the Petition sent to all Board members which recorded a ‘significant number of signatories’.

Councillor Bruce Marshall asked if there were any plans to develop housing on another site in Ardentinny. Gordon Watson replied that they had identified other sites for housing in Cowal but not in Ardentinny. Later, Board Member, Russell Bruce asked about the significance of the recommendation to adjust the settlement boundary. Gordon Watson responded by saying that it was necessary to move the site south of Lochview outside the settlement boundary otherwise there would always be a predisposition to use it for the development of housing.

This result is undoubtedly due to the spirit and determination of the Ardentinny community whose resolve and staying power have been exemplary. A record of its campaign and how it evolved can be found at the following pages:

http://ardentinny.org/category/phousing/

http://old.ardentinny.org/community/localplan3.html

http://old.ardentinny.org/community/localplan2.html

http://old.ardentinny.org/community/localplan1.html

Copy of letter which accompanied 96 signature petition to National Park Authority (pdf 70kb).

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[19:37:26] National Park CEO at Kilmun meeting

Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Chief Executive Fiona Logan fields questions at tonight’s Kilmun Community Council meeting. Full report to follow.

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National Park Authority’s Report on Consultation

Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority  has produced its Report on Consultation, which is their report on the results of the initial consultation on the draft local plan in February 2009. This apparently fed in to their Finalised Draft Local Plan, the consultation period of which ended on 6 April 2010. Copies of their Report on Consultation are available  on the National Park website (pdf 3.3mb).

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Finalised Draft Local Plan available in Village Hall

There is copy of the full Plan available for reference in Ardentinny Village Hall. The Hall will be open, as follows:
Monday evening           7pm – 9pm              (during bridge)
Tuesday morning          10am – 12noon        (during badminton)
Wednesday evening      7pm – 9pm              (during hobbies)
Thursday afternoon       3pm – 5pm             (during carpet bowls)

The relevant Local Plan Ardentinny map pages can also be downloaded from here (pdf). Complete Plan pages can be downloaded from here.

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Your Feedback on the Public Meeting with National Park Authority

 

29 of the 50 attendees at the Public Meeting, held in Ardentinny on 26th January, completed feedback forms which were provided by The Community Council. The results are as follows:

Question 1. Were you given sufficient information to understand the planning issue and its possible impact on the village in order to attend and take part in this meeting?
26 responded Yes
3 responded No

Question 2. Did you consider the Community Council and Working Group conducted an equal and fair meeting, allowing important points to be raised and answered?
28 responded Yes
1 responded Don’t know

Question 3. Did you consider the National Park statements satisfactory or inadequate?
4 responded Satisfactory
25 responded Inadequate

Question 4. Do you wish the Community Council and Working Group to continue to monitor this planning issue?
29 responded Yes

Further comments were also invited and those submitted were:
– The representatives of the National Park seem to know little about the area.
– Further clarification for criteria required for ‘Social Housing’
– How are Housing Associations selected for the development?
– No information on the environmental impact.
– Good meeting re-affirming a substantial majority against the proposed housing.
– Thin end of the wedge – 10 houses initially, then what? Not convinced of sincerity of NP to take into consideration feelings of the majority present.
– Disappointed that the elected National Park Councillor does not feel he has to support the overwhelming view of the meeting.
– Very pleased with the way the meeting was conducted.
– Majority at meeting voted NO to new houses in Ardentinny.
– I think there were some questions that revealed a lack of democracy and real consultation and concern for local communities and their sustainability and health.

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Ardentinny – In the Media

No More Houses – Ardentinny says no to development. Dunoon Observer & Argyll Standard (PDF 335kb).

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Residents express their views at public meeting

A 50-strong gathering of Ardentinny residents expressed dismay and more than a little frustration at the Public Meeting held in the village hall on Tuesday 26th January. Dismay at the continued, albeit scaled down, proposal to build 10, as opposed to, 36 affordable housing ‘units’ in a village with no employment opportunities and a distinct lack of amenities. Frustration at the perceived lack of transparency and willingness by The National Park Authority to respond to officially posed questions and expressed concerns.

The meeting was chaired by Community Council Convener, Val Kennedy. The National Park Authority was represented by Gordon Watson, Director of Planning and Rural Development; Terry Levinthal, Chair of the Planning Committee; and Diana Worthy, Planning Officer. Gordon Watson opened the meeting with a presentation on where they are in the planning process. He stated that the driver for their current housing policy is concern at population decline within The National Park and, in particular, the decline of householders and people of working age.

Community Councillor and Working Group Member, Dennis Gower, spoke on behalf of the Community Council. He noted that of the total responses the Park had received, over 20% had come from Ardentinny and he said that while the village was not against housing full stop, the majority was against housing in Ardentinny in its present state. He commented that the Community Council had sent a formal, reasonably detailed response re the Draft Plan in which they asked 10 clear succinct questions which they thought deserved an answer or some kind of reasonable explanation. This has never been received and the Community Council shared the Working Group’s frustrations at the stalling tactics of the National Park when asked to provide answers to their questions and concerns. He also quoted from the Scottish Government’s response to the Consultation in which it said that the National Park had not provided a clear justification for the allocation of housing within particular areas, of which Ardentinny is one. He thanked the Park Authority for finally agreeing to come along to the Public Meeting and asked that they give full consideration to what the residents had to say and to adhere to the primary aims of the National Park which are to conserve and enhance the culture and heritage of the area. He also asked that they apply a great deal more common sense, which received loud applause.

Why Ardentinny?
Argyll and Bute Councillor and Conservative Parliamentary Candidate, Gary Mulvanay asked the question ‘Of all the places in this big National Park, why Ardentinny?’, particularly when there was such a clear steer from the community that they did not want this proposal. He asked what the driver was? For example, was it people in work who needed housing in the area? Councillor Bruce Marshall responded by saying that, in his youth, Ardentinny was a vibrant, viable village with jobs, kids, a school and post office which have all gone because there are no young people. He suggested that now the village was dying on its feet. One resident suggested that it was a work thing, not a housing thing. Gordon Watson said the driver was the housing need identified by Argyll and Bute Council and that within Argyll and Bute there was a shortage of suitable sites. They had identified this site in Ardentinny as one that would be suitable. This was an issue that became increasingly more obvious as the meeting progressed, i.e., that Ardentinny had been earmarked for affordable housing more because of the availability of a suitable site, rather than in response to a housing need, particular to Ardentinny.

A vibrant village not a dying one
There was strong objection from the floor that Ardentinny was a dying village. One resident cited the vast amount of talent in the village, small businesses, artists and crafts people and said that, while Ardentinny is a changed village, it is a very vibrant, going forward village. A view which was strongly supported by the majority.

Apology and lessons to learn
One of the residents reiterated the concern that the Park Authority had not responded to the questions posed by the Community Council and suggested that, had they been more open and provided answers to questions, it would possibly have saved a lot of time and angst and avoided the rather confused and hostile environment the Park representatives found themselves in. Gordon Watson stated that it was never the NPA’s intention to mislead the community or not respond to questions and said he could only apologise if things had been missed in how they responded to responses and they hoped to learn lessons from it, with regards to how they handle responses in the future.

Many other issues were touched on ,e.g., flooding at the site and the impact on nature; the national criteria for access to affordable housing; house types etc. would depend on agreement between the housing authority and housing association; and that local authority housing needs would dictate. However, it would appear that one of the overriding reasons for selecting Ardentinny as a suitable location for affordable housing was the identification of a suitable site at Lochview.

The Finalised Draft Local Plan consultation begins on Friday 19 February 2010 and closes on Tuesday 6 April 2010. Response forms and all relevant documentation will be on the National Park website at that time. There will also be a Local Plan Drop In Session on 24 February in the Younger Hall, Kilmun.

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