AN appeal against councillors’ decision to refuse planning permission for a housing development at Portincaple has been dismissed by the Scottish Government.

Developer Pelham Olive asked the Scottish Government to revisit his plans for 12 new houses on the shores of Loch Long, which were met with over 1,100 objections.

Those plans were rejected by Argyll and Bute Council’s planning, protective services and licensing committee in January following a public hearing.

And a reporter from the Scottish Government's planning and environmental appeals decision has now backed the council's view, saying  that the proposed development should not be allowed to go ahead.

Reporter Trevor Croft cited a lack of consistency with the local development plan as the reason for refusal.

In a report summing up the decision, the reporter said: “Portincaple is classed in the local development plan as a village/small settlement in terms of policy DM1, where small scale development is encouraged on appropriate sites.

“The associated supplementary guidance policy HOU 1 defines small scale as up to five dwelling units. As the proposed development is for 12 units it does not therefore accord with the policy, as set out in reason 1a of the reasons for refusal.

“Under policy HOU 1 development of medium scale and above in minor settlements is presumed against.

“These larger scales of development would only be supported by a deliberate attempt to counter population decline in the area, help deliver affordable housing or meet a particular local housing need.

“The council’s reason for refusal 1b states that the relatively insignificant contribution via a commuted sum to affordable housing would provide no benefit to Portincaple and does not merit consideration of an exceptional case status to justify departure from the policy.

“The policy also states that developments of eight or more houses will generally be expected to contribute a proportion of 25% of units as affordable housing.

“In exceptional cases a commuted sum can be considered. Whichever way this would be done the housing equivalent would only be three units and I agree with the council that this would be relatively insignificant.”

The Reporter added: “The appellant refers to nine items of planning gain that would result from the development. These include: lost history rediscovered; rhododendron eradication; lost water connection restored; road improvements; woodland creation biodiversity restoration; open space and water access; district heating system; provision of exemplar sustainable houses; and land for bus turning and core path access.

“Much of these could be achieved by houses within the local development plan policy and I do not attach sufficient weight to these to affect my decision.

“I therefore conclude, for the reasons set out above, that the proposed development does not accord overall with the relevant provisions of the development plan and that there are no material considerations which would still justify granting planning permission.

“I have considered all the other matters raised, but there are none which would lead me to alter my conclusions.”

At the hearing in January, Lomond North independent councillor George Freeman moved a motion that the development should be refused, which was unanimously backed.

Architect Bruce Jamieson argued at the hearing that only 52 of around 130 Portincaple residents had raised objections.