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Village homes plan turned down

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Village homes plan turned down

A CONTROVERSIAL proposal for 56 new homes in Leswalt was this week thrown out by councillors.

Elected members refused permission for Wheatley Homes to put social housing on a site next to Challoch Farm after a local uproar against the plans.

The local authority had received 98 objections from villagers, expressing concerns about the impact such a scheme would have locally.

A lack of infrastructure and community facilities in Leswalt were the main worries highlighted.

And councillors agreed, voting by eight to six to refuse it, with Stranraer and The Rhins member Ben Dashper abstaining.

He posted a statement explaining his position: “For those who voted against it, material planning concerns around the size and scope of the development compared to the rest of the village primarily. Also concerns about overwhelming the school as there aren’t a huge amount of spaces in it.

“This is the first time I’ve abstained in a vote because I didn’t want to vote against social housing, but I also couldn’t vote for something which is proportionally just too much and would overwhelm the primary school. A very difficult vote.”

Fellow Stranraer and The Rhins Councillor Andrew Giusti was one of those who voted against and he said online: “We had approx 100 objections and many objectors speaking at the committee. They swung the opinion of the committee to refuse contrary to officers’ recommendations.”

Setting out the principal reasons, Cllr Giusti said they were based on the scale, siting, design and materials not being in keeping with the character of the area; while the number of units does not relate well to the scale and size of the existing village. Furthermore, it was felt it would put undue pressure on the local education facilities, have an adverse impact on the character of the adjacent Category B listed parish church; and that there is insufficient transport infrastructure to support a development of such scale.

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