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Flood risk could sink planning application

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By Marc
Dumfries and West
Flood risk could sink planning application

A PROPOSAL to convert an empty office space in Dumfries town centre into two flats could potentially be sunk due to flooding concerns.

L Murray Property Ltd has submitted a planning application to Dumfries and Galloway Council for changing the use of the old office/storage space at 12 Whitesands and transforming the building into a three-bedroom flat on the first floor and two-bedroom property on the second floor.

Council planning chiefs are supportive of the proposals, however the Scottish Government will ultimately have the final say because the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) has lodged an objection.

SEPA argued that the development “increases vulnerability” to flooding at the site. SEPA chiefs have confirmed they are aware that the Whitesands Flood Prevention Scheme is planned for the area, but say that this cannot be taken into account until it is under construction.

Meanwhile, the council’s flood risk management team have also objected to the planning application, stating: “Dumfries and Galloway Council have historical records showing flooding near to the proposed site.

“The proposed change of use represents an increased risk in vulnerability, as per SEPA flood risk and land use vulnerability guidance.”

The building, which is a two-and-a-half end terraced property, is situated on Whitesands and within the Conservation Area boundary.

The ground floor is currently used as a dance studio and has an access onto Whitesands.

The upper floors being eyed up for conversion currently comprise a vacant office and storage space, and they have a separate access stairwell directly onto Whitesands.

Council planning papers state: “The proposed development would be in keeping with the mix of uses in the immediate locality and would also contribute to the vitality and viability of the town centre and would not result in any material degree of land use conflict.

“Provided that the development would comply with other development plan policies and material considerations assessed below, the principle of development is acceptable.”

Councillors will discuss the matter at the planning committee next Wednesday. They have the option to notify Scottish Ministers of the council’s intention to grant planning permission, or they can refuse the application.

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