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Demolition of Dingwall flats in poor condition set to be rubber-stamped by Highland Council

By Alasdair Fraser

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There have long been concerns about homes on Meiklefield Road in Dingwall.
There have long been concerns about homes on Meiklefield Road in Dingwall.

Planning officials are expected to approve plans for the demolition of flats in Dingwall ahead of a rebuilding programme.

Flats at 1 Meiklefield will be among the first to be pulled down, with the local authority seeking to build new homes to help ease the housing shortage in the Ross-shire town.

Almost three years ago, the Journal highlighted local concerns about "rotting" flats being left empty for long periods of time while the town's homeless population grew.

The application, with a determination deadline of January 6, is set to be considered under the planning authority's delegated powers.

Some tenants have already been relocated from the flats, with some 12 homes within three blocks included in the current application.

Moves to redevelop council properties on the estate were delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as issues relating to mixed private and council ownership of flats within some of the blocks.

Councillor Graham MacKenzie, of the Dingwall and Seaforth ward, believes there is unanimous support among fellow local members for the redevelopment.

He said: “This will be a planned and phased redevelopment of Meiklefield Road. It will be a Highland Council project.

“There have been concerns about the houses at Meiklefield Road for an awful long time.

“A plan has eventually been settled on and they have been relocating tenants with a view to starting the programme in the not too distant future.

“This is not a short-term matter - it is something likely to take some time.But the flats will be demolished because they’re not saveable. Nothing can be done to resuscitate them.

“There are real dampness issues and so they will be flattened and redeveloped for future use.The council tenants in the first tranche of this have certainly all received notification.The problem the council has is there are some blocks with privately-owned and council-owned properties, and there are some difficulties in how best to move forward.”

Some of the homes are already uninhabited, but planning and redevelopment has been slowed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cllr MacKenzie added: “I suspect, if it weren’t for Covid, we’d be well underway with the programme, but as far as I’m aware the housing department has been moving people out with a view to being able to start as soon as possible.

“It’s certainly not a controversial application among our local members

“Dingwall badly needs houses. These ones aren’t habitable, so the best thing we can do is tear them down and start again.”

The planning application details how a safe demolition can be assured in line with existing regulations.

The site will be secured by fencing with work at all times carried out in a manner which minimises disruption to neighbouring properties and the public at all times.

Mature trees at the site will be protected, while all possible measures will be taken to avoid road disruption and pollution resulting from the demolition.

Related article: Plea for help from 'negligent council'

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