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Controversial Ladyfield plans to be discussed

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Controversial Ladyfield plans to be discussed

CONTROVERSIAL proposals to build hundreds of homes on a greenfield site at Ladyfield are due to be discussed by councillors this week.

Elected members will be asked how to progress plans for the £45m “care campus” development, which have been put forward in a masterplan by The Crichton Trust.

The site has been identified as prime land for a large housing development of up to 489 units in the local development plan, however there is strong opposition in the community.

And protection of mature trees also means that only up to 350 homes could be built.

A report for the economy and resources committee says that councillors could “progress with delivering the site”, which would mean making it surplus to requirements and opening the door to the housing plans moving forward.

However, the other options are simply noting that a masterplan has been prepared – and acknowledging that it can be used to support a planning application further down the line.

A third option is to review the housing allocation for the site under the local development plan policies, with no further work taken to progress disposal.

The report also acknowledges the strength of feeling from campaigners fighting against the beauty spot being turned into a housing development.

It reads: “Community engagement and consultation was an integral part of the masterplan work. Three events were held at the Easterbrook Hall at key stages in the development of the masterplan, there was also a community bike tour early in the process.

“This enabled the design team to hear the views of residents in their own locality.

“More than 400 people attended the events, 238 feedback forms were completed and responses shared with the local community.

“A community group called ‘Save Ladyfield’ has been established, they have created a Facebook page and started a petition. Members of the group have written to the council’s leader and deputy leader, the chair and vice chair of their committee and submitted letters of objection to the planning department.”

Campaigners are seeking support in their fight and have won the backing of council convener, Councillor Malcolm Johnstone.

Members of the Save Ladyfield campaign claim the project would lead to increased risks of flooding, destroy wildlife habitat and add more traffic to an already congested roads network.

The report confirms that there is a history of flooding at the site and states that a drainage impact assessment is required, along with appropriate surface water management measures.

A survey of the woodland resource is also called for to support the overall design of the housing development and to show how trees would be protected during the construction period.