A group campaigning to halt plans to use two quiet Lossiemouth cul-de-sacs into major access routes are demanding a change of heart from Moray Council.
The Stop the B.A.D. Access Group were formed after it was revealed that council planners had changed details in the Moray Local Plan for a development of up to 278 homes and four retail units in the town.
Plans for the new development had previously shown two access points from the main A941 Elgin to Lossiemouth road and the B9135 route linking RAF Lossiemouth and the A941.
However, these were later altered by planners to allow initial access to the development from Boyd Anderson Drive via cul-de-sacs Fisher Place and Halliman Way.
Council officials insisted that the change was forced on them by the Scottish Government’s ‘Designing Streets’ guidance which encourages improved access between residential developments.
Campaigners sought the assistance of local MSP Richard Lochhead in establishing the terms of the Designing Streets guidance – and now say that a reply forwarded to them by the MSP from his Scottish Government colleagues confirms that the guidance did not compel the local authority to make the changes.
[box] “…..it now seems clear the real reason was to get the cheapest access to the site.”[/box]
Group member Robert Murdoch said: “The Council has promoted the access and it now seems clear the real reason was to get the cheapest access to the site at the expense of and detriment to the amenity of residents who live on plots sold by the previous Council. It is morally indefensible.”
In a response to Mr Lochhead, Derek Mackay, the minister for local government and planning, said that the Designing Streets guidelines “does not set down requirements to alter existing layouts or make specific detailed design requirements that would limit a local authority’s autonomy”.
Group member John Hamilton said: “The Council are wrong to act in this way – and in any event they should not deal with this application until a Reporter has dealt with objections to the Development Plan.
“The guidelines are now seen as providing primary access points [through the two cul-de-sacs] – this is wrong and it is the Council’s fault.”
A full application for the development, including a civic square, has already been launched with Moray Council which the local authority admit is a departure from the existing MLP.
Campaigners are calling on the local authority to reject any such applications until they have reversed their decision to alter the MLP to include Fisher Place and Halliman Way as access points.
Last night the group attended a meeting of the Lossiemouth Community Council to recruit their support by objecting to the plan.
A spokesman for the community council said: “We have noted the comments made by the residents’ group and will consider carefully any response we make ahead of the closing date for comments on the planning application.”