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Land swap could be way forward in Parkhead row

Section:  Dumfries and West  | Tags: , , , , ,

A ‘COMMON sense’ compromise is being urged amid an outcry over plans to build houses on green space in the centre of Dumfries.

It comes after a well-attended second public meeting of the Save Parkhead group, set up after the council sold a parkland site between Lockerbie Road and Annan Road to Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership (DGHP).

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth attended, and said: “A number of suggestions have been made about a way forward, including the council possibly giving DGHP another piece of land and taking back Noblehill.
“That would certainly ease residents’ concerns.”

But he added: “If that doesn’t happen, and DGHP pursue housing on the site, I still think a common sense compromise can be reached.”

Mr Smyth claims the land cannot be developed until a ‘full masterplan’ for Noblehill and Brownrigg Loaning is prepared by the land owners – and should be vetoed by councillors ‘if it doesn’t meet the needs of residents’.

Mr Smyth says he has called on DGHP to look at neighbouring land for housing, and to retain recreational ground such as the pitches.

Stating that land sold to DGHP by the council forms only a ‘very small part’ of the masterplan, he says this leaves potential for playing fields and park to be retained in any development.

Friday’s meeting was organised by the newly-formed Noblehill and Parkhead Community Development Association, who say about 80 people attended.

Chairman David Coulter reported on a meeting with DGHP, freedom of information requests, contact with Scottish Natural Heritage about habitat diversity and investigations into legalilities around Common Good land.

Mr Coulter said: “The association was delighted with both the high community turnout to the meeting and the respectful manner in which questions and discussions were conducted, particularly given the strength of feeling within the local community about this issue.”

Acknowleging the ‘land swap’ idea, Mr Coulter added: “It should be borne in mind that we are only in the early stages of this campaign to save our common good land and open space.

“We look forward to working with local agencies to explore all opportunities to secure our open space for future generations.”

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