A HOUSING development planned for Helensburgh’s Sawmill Field is “rather bland and run of the mill”, the town’s community council has said.

Bellway Homes is looking to install 123 houses and a further 20 flats at the site, across Cardross Road from the Burgh’s Waitrose supermarket.

But members of Helensburgh Community Council (HCC) remain unconvinced by the plans and have formally submitted an objection to Argyll and Bute Council.

A decision on the proposals is expected from the authority by the middle of May. It is expected that they will be referred to the council’s planning, protective services and licensing committee.

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On the distinctiveness of the proposals, HCC said: “While there is a fairly wide range of house types, they look essentially the same: could-be-anywhere, rather bland and run of the mill.

“They are all too similar to each other with only cosmetic differences in design and appearance. None of them make a positive design statement.

“They mimic the vernacular of recent large-scale housing development in Helensburgh and contribute little or nothing to Helensburgh’s legacy of outstanding domestic architecture.

“The entrance road into the site off the A814 does not stand out or do justice to its prominent, central position.

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“It does not project a distinctive image or make a strong design statement for what is the focal point of the site.

“The flats at the southeast corner of the site do not make a strong, positive visual impact at what is a prominent key entry point to Helensburgh.

“They cry out for their own distinctive design quality. They lack character and do not stand comparison with the award-winning Waitrose store, the distinctive Hermitage Academy and the Dunbritton Housing Association flats as Helensburgh’s gateway from the east.”

The HCC representation does contain more positive comments, also saying: “Within the site, the range of house types and their design compares favourably with many other developments in Helensburgh East.

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“There is a good mix of house sizes. The layout of the development is responsive to the topography and characteristics of the site.”

In a covering note with the submission, Nigel Millar of HCC said: “HCC supports housing on the Sawmill Field site and in the numbers applied for.

“It also supports the provision of 25 per cent affordable as integral to the development. However, there are areas for improvement which HCC has identified and these form the basis of its objection.”

A spokesman from Bellway Homes Ltd (Scotland West) said: “We have already met with the Community Council to better understand their comments and have offered to meet them again to go through the plans in more detail.

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“This will be an important development for Helensburgh, creating 143 much-needed new homes, and will offer a variety of contemporary house types including an element of affordable housing provision to meet the expectations and varied budgets of today’s buyers.

"It is very much in keeping with other modern developments in the area.

“As with any Bellway development we have spent considerable time researching the needs of the local market, working closely with Argyll and Bute Council.

"We have also received lots of positive feedback from people attending our community consultation events.”

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