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Conon Bridge house-building proposals tabled with Highland Council as Ross-shire village looks set for further expansion with area around old Drouthy Duck amongst sites set for development

By Neil MacPhail

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TWO sizeable housing developments are being considered for areas in Conon Bridge, one by a private developer and one by Highland Council.

The bigger application for 28 homes is for the Schoolhouse Belt site located on the southern edge of the village, and comes from Tulloch Homes Ltd.

The other is for 16 council houses next to the former Drouthy Duck bar in the centre of the village.

The Schoolhouse Belt site previously was granted planning permission for Aviemore & Highland Developments Ltd in 2008, but this approval has expired.

The new application from Tulloch Homes Ltd is for a revised version of the development layout and house types.

It is proposed there be 21 high end homes built plus seven affordable houses, with a new spinal road through the estate and associated planting and landscaping.

A wildlife report reveals there is an active red kite nest in the vicinity, and it is recommended its protection should be made a planning condition.

The development will include a number of "high quality house types" with the layout predominantly 4-bedroom family homes to meet demand for this housing in the Conon Bridge area.

The Schoolhouse Belt site is bounded to the north, east and south by existing woodland with the A862 to the west of the site and can be accessed via a public footpath from the adjacent public road.

A design statement says: "There are a number of valuable amenities within easy reach of the site, including Conon Bridge town centre, railway station, Ben Wyvis Primary School and a number of retail facilities, all within walking distance.

"The site also benefits from good overall transport links and is only a short commute to Dingwall (2.5 miles) and Inverness (13 miles)."

The statement adds: "To take advantage of this unique woodland setting, high quality house types are proposed with the housing density matching the previous planning consent. Larger houses within a more generous plot size are considered to be more appropriate for this setting and will allow for a more sympathetic approach when considering the integration of housing in this area."

Colin Armstrong Architects has been appointed to design and deliver the Drouthy Duck housing.

Their design statement says the site is allocated in the Inner Moray Firth Local

Development Plan as being suitable for retail, but adds that previous applications have been approved for housing.

Existing young and semi-mature trees surrounding the site will be incorporated into the proposals and a flood defence scheme has been approved and works have started for the area.

The site extends to about 0.82 hectare and comprises the site of the Drouthy Duck public house which has been disused for approximately 11 years, its car park and adjacent land including a former paddock area to the rear and the flood protection embankment to the west which runs parallel to the river.

It excludes the former pub building which is now split into flats.

The site has young to semi mature trees with scattered trees along the river bank.

Within walking distance there are multiple bus stops with routes connecting to surrounding villages, towns and Inverness. Conon Bridge also has an active rail platform which connects Inverness to Wick.

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