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Major new development proposed for Bogbay Farm by Tore on the Black Isle 'causing concern' for locals

By Federica Stefani

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An overview of the proposed development area at Tore, from Springfield Properties consultation document.
An overview of the proposed development area at Tore, from Springfield Properties consultation document.

Housing developer Springfield Properties has submitted a proposal of application notice (PAN) for the development.

The development is proposed across 87 hectares of agricultural land at Bogbay Farm south of the Tore roundabout.

As well as a currently unspecified number of homes, it also includes proposals for new business premises and retail facilities as well as a new primary school.

The PAN indicates the developer’s thinking in broad terms, and gives councillors a chance to raise any issues or concerns before a more detailed and specific planning application is potentially lodged.

Planners confirmed that the site is not currently designated for potential development in the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan (IMFLDP).

Within the PAN councillors were told: “The IMFLDP is currently undergoing a review, and the Main Issues Report (MIR) was subject to consultation earlier this year.

“The MIR identifies the vast majority of the site, as a ‘non-preferred site’, where development is not being supported for a mix of uses.”

The development plan is a work in progress, and will go to council for consideration at the end of this year, before opening for further public comment next spring.

In the section relating to Tore, the report describes the village as a “strategically competitive location, central to Inner Moray Firth employment opportunities.”

However, council planners do not believe a large expansion of housing in Tore would benefit the community with the plan proposing only “limited infill development”.

Dingwall and Seaforth councillor Angela MacLean told Tuesday’s meeting of the north planning applications committee that local concerns were already running high.

“The feedback I have had from local residents is that they are really concerned that this application is coming forward and they are quite uncomfortable about it,” she said.

“I know this is just an outline at the moment, but I am rather concerned that the developer is coming forward with this application without it being in the Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan.

“There have been many talks about the A9, its safety and the increase in traffic on it. The junction and the roundabout at Muir of Ord has had extensive consultation, and also at Munlochy.

“A lot of the community in Tore feel they have already been split in four, and this new development will come to overwhelm the existing community. They are really concerned about it.

“I think there needs to be a lot more consultation with the community before this application is presented to the committee.

“It’s very speculative, and the community and local members are concerned on how much impact this will have on them.”

Black Isle councillor Gordon Adam said the community around Tore were “very strongly opposed to the scale of the development” and “taken aback” by the proposals.

“I just want to say, that if this application were to go ahead and be granted, it will cause a lot of local consternation,” he added.

Springfield’s public consultation materials say the development would create local jobs and apprenticeships, as well as driving investment in existing neighbourhoods and services.

A previous virtual public consultation event was held on September 16 with a second scheduled for today (Thursday).

Planning officers confirmed that, if Springfield decides to progress to a full application, the fact that the site is not currently included in the local development plan would need to be taken into account.

For details of the proposals and the public consultation event see www.springfield.co.uk/tore

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