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Flats on 'very steep' Dingwall site 'will help meet identified demand for affordable housing'

By Hector MacKenzie

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AN amendment to plans for blocks of flats on a “very steep” site in Ross-shire’s county town has been tabled with planners.

Highland Housing Alliance is behind the proposal for two blocks of flats and associated parking provision on a site at St Andrews Road in Dingwall.

The latest development would be phase two of an existing scheme and is being described as “affordable housing” which meets an identified demand in the area.

A planning statement submitted with the application says the plan is for an amendment to consented three-storey blocks of flats to provide two blocks of cottage flats with associated parking provision and improved wider landscape provision.

The statement says the principle of changes to the blocks has been discussed with the planning authority and housing team for the 0.2 hectare site.

It states: “The site is currently a gap site remaining between the development progressing from the east and that from the west along St Andrews Road.”

A total of 12 parking spaces have been identified.

The planning application is set within the context of a wider application for 30 houses on the site. It says the revision allows for more ‘cottage units’.

The changes predominantly involve the substitution of the previously consented three-storey, flatted units with new two-storey fourplex designs.

The design statement says: “Our brief was to create a residential proposal for affordable housing incorporating a mix of housing typologies, which dealt with the challenging topography of this existing gap site in the north of Dingwall.

“We worked closely with the project engineer to use as much of the site as we could to maximise the number of dwellings possible within the constraints of the site and its context.”

It says the housing mix is based on known local demand and seeks to provide 14 three-bed detached and semi-detached homes, alongside four four-plex units.

It makes clear that it is “a very steep site, with site constraints to the top and bottom” and has an overall drop in levels of approximately 27m from north to south.

The design statement concludes: “The unique location of the site allows the opportunity to create a very special environment. As outlined in this document, the development can fulfil many of the current guidance advice and meet current best design guidance in an incredible range of areas.”

The site is bound to the south by an operational sawmill, the east and west boundaries are shared with residential properties, and cottages are situated to the north of the steeply-sloped site, opening onto agricultural land, background papers state.

It says that local amenities such as shops, bars and restaurants are within a 30-minute walking distance of the site, with bus links to Dingwall High Street and onward transport links across the Highlands.

The expiry date for making representations is October 27.

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