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Annan housing controversy

By Marc McLean, local democracy reporter
Annan and Eskdale
Annan housing controversy

A CONTROVERSIAL housing development in Annan will come under the scrutiny of Dumfries and Galloway Council planning chiefs next week.

A total of 37 homes at Windermere Park were given planning approval in October 2020, however it has emerged that 22 of them have been constructed over and above what was agreed.

This has sparked an angry reaction from nearby residents, who have lodged objections with the council. One of the complaints states: “Plot 65 was originally a modest semi-detached bungalow and now it is a large, detached bungalow with a sunroom attached.

“This will impact on standard of living/residential amenity of the neighbours.”

Due to the failure to stick with the design parameters on several occasions, the developer Anderson’s Joinery is being forced to go through another round of the council’s planning approval process.

The company has submitted a retrospective planning application and is hoping that councillors will give the 22 houses the green light at the planning committee next Wednesday.

Council planning officer Chris McTeir is recommending that the new application is approved but he also produced a report detailing the messy affair. He wrote: “Development of the site began in 2021. However, it became apparent following checks on plans submitted to the council’s building standards service that a considerable number of house types had been altered over and above those that had been granted planning permission, namely at plots: 64, 65, 66, 68, 69, 70, 73, 74, 75, 76, 78, 80, 81, 84, 85, 86, 87, 89, 92, 93, 94 and 95.

“It was also clear that a number of pre-development suspensive conditions had not been discharged, which included submitting details of the surface water drainage, street lighting, landscaping works, fencing and proposed external finishes to the dwellings.

“An application to regularise the substitution of house types was submitted in May 2022. However, this did not accurately detail the extent of the changes and in the interim, several dwellings were occupied without the benefit of planning permission.”

He continued: “Several submissions of amended plans were made, each one requiring a re-notification of neighbours, although these were inadequate and final plans confirming the unauthorised works were only submitted to the planning service on May 31, 2023.”

The proposed development forms a mix of detached and semi-detached properties which are predominantly split between one and half and single storey.

Eight objections were submitted to the council from Annan residents living nearby.

The report summarised their complaints, stating: “The buildings that are under construction bear no resemblance to those that are supposed to be built.

“The plans do not reflect the true positioning of the buildings, and there are inaccuracies in the plot boundaries.”

They also highlighted that there are no affordable homes on site, and that floorplans and drawings contain errors.

Claims have also been made that window to window distances do not meet guidelines, while residents are also unhappy with the quality of pavements and loose kerb stones.

Objectors are planning to attend next week’s session and said in a statement yesterday: “It makes a mockery of the whole planning process should this application be approved.

“In one particular case, they have build a two storey house looking down into other bungalows’ living areas instead of the modest three bedroom bungalow which was planned.

“If DG Council are recommending approval of this application, what is the purpose of builders requesting planning in the first place/or for residents to take the time to raise genuine privacy and overlooking concerns for these to be disregarded.”

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