PLANS for almost 150 new homes at the east end of Helensburgh have been given the go-ahead.

Argyll and Bute Council officers have approved proposals by Bellway Homes for a development at Sawmill Field, which will include 123 houses and 20 flats.

Bellway were identified as new bidders for the site, across from the town’s former Waitrose supermarket, in September 2019 after initial developers Cala Homes pulled out five months earlier.

Helensburgh Community Council (HCC) had initially objected to the plans, but withdrew their objection in August after plans for the flats were revised.

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The site is owned by Helensburgh and Lomond South Councillor Richard Trail and his three brothers.

A council planning officer said in a handling report: “The site is located in an area of semi-rural mixed character development with no clear or defining architectural style.

“The principle of the development is acceptable having regard to the allocation of land for residential development in the adopted development plan.

“The proposals, as amended, will provide an appropriate layout and design for this site. The improved design of the block of flats is particularly welcomed and has resulted in HCC withdrawing their previous objections to the scheme.

“Notwithstanding the third party objections which have been received, it is considered that the topography of the site, the layout of the scheme, the landscaping proposed, and the variation in house designs and external finishes present a form of development which will accord with local development plan and Scottish Government policy requirements as well as Scottish Government advice on placemaking.”

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The planning officer added: “All flooding, drainage and connected infrastructure issues have been determined to be acceptable by the council’s flooding advisor. Conditions in respect of required standards and maintenance are proposed in accordance with established practice.

“The area road manager has raised no objection to the proposals and considers the proposed development in accordance with the policies and standards of the local development plan subject to conditions.

“The council’s biodiversity officer is content that the application proposal is sufficiently separated from Red Burn to ensure that no adverse interaction should occur having regard to the operations associated with the construction of the houses.

“The land adjacent to the watercourse feeding into the Red Burn is not subject to construction work and is being left as amenity space.

“A CEMP (construction environmental management plan) is in any event proposed by condition which will control potential environmental impacts and will safeguard biodiversity and ecology interests associated with the construction of the site.”

In withdrawing HCC’s objection, community councillor Nigel Millar said: “The revised design for the proposed flats we see as a marked improvement on Bellway’s original proposal.

“They make a more positive design statement worthy of their position at the eastern entrance to the town.”

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