PLANS for a major development of 145 new homes at the east end of Helensburgh will be carefully scrutinised by the town’s community council.

That’s the pledge made this week after Bellway Homes unveiled proposals to develop the Sawmill Field site, next to Hermitage Academy, at a public consultation in the Commodore Hotel.

Bellway was announced earlier this month as the new preferred developer for the site after the withdrawal of CALA Homes was revealed by the Advertiser in April.

CALA was given outline planning permission in 2016 to build 120 homes on the site of almost six hectares.

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Bellway hopes to submit a new planning application next month – but for 145 homes, the maximum permitted under the current local development plan.

Helensburgh Community Council member Nigel Millar, who is also part of Architecture and Design Helensburgh, the group which advises the community council on major planning applications, said the group would be scrutinising Bellway’s detailed application carefully when it is lodged – and urged the town’s residents to do the same.

Mr Millar told the Advertiser: “Helensburgh is one of Scotland’s most attractive towns, with a legacy of outstanding architecture and design, and large-scale developments of this kind must aim to preserve and enhance this legacy.

“The only one of its kind in Scotland, Architecture and Design Helensburgh (A&DH), part of HCC, will assess the design quality and layout of the Bellway proposal once a detailed planning application is lodged with Argyll and Bute Council.

“The local community can rest assured that A&DH will do all it can to ensure this will be a high quality development: a sense of community, a joy to live in and one Helensburgh can be proud of.

“My initial reaction is that Sawmill Field is on a sloping site, facing south with wonderful views over the Clyde Estuary to the hills beyond. As many homes as possible need to share in these views.

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“Secondly, the entrance to the site is off the busy A814, so road safety concerns require a roundabout there.

“Thirdly, what I saw was a pretty much run-of-the-mill design.

“Once the application has been lodged I urge as many residents as possible to look at the plans and tell the council what you think.”

“You can rest assured HCC will listen to what you say and give you all possible support.”

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A spokesman from Bellway Homes said: “We are very excited to be submitting a planning application for this landmark development in Helensburgh which will create 145 new homes for the town in a prime hillside location with fantastic views over the waterfront, yet close to all the local amenities and the town centre.

“The location of the site, the coastal setting and the town’s reputation as a great place for families to live are big attractions for us.

“The development will include a mix of 109 private homes and 36 affordable homes for the town, subject to planning approval.”

“Feedback from the consultation event was largely positive from people attending the event.

“We are not aware of any major objections. The site already received planning permission three years ago for a proposed development by Cala Homes so we are confident there is an appetite for this kind of development in the town.

“We intend to submit a planning application in October and hope to start construction work on the development next year if successful.

“We are very excited about this proposed development and are looking forward to working closely with Argyll and Bute Council to deliver this new development for the town.”

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