Council grid blunder prompted late homes objection from MoD

MoD had wrong grid reference for Lossiemouth housing estate plans

A WRONG MAP reference was behind the late deferment of a high-profile planning application at Moray Council this week.

A special meeting of the planning and regulatory services committee was to hear submissions from over 60 objectors to plans for a 278-home estate in Lossiemouth.

Developer’s Tulloch of Cummingston have faced fierce opposition from local residents over their plan because it proposes to cut through two quite cul-de-sacs, providing access via Boyd Anderson Drive.

That is a major departure from the Moray Development Plan which calls for new access roads linking any development of the site to the A941 Elgin/Lossiemouth road and B9135 RAF Lossiemouth/Elgin route.

Protests from the Stop B.A.D. Access Group say that opening up Halliman Way and Fisher Place would impinge on the quality of life for existing residents.

People set to attend the hearing on Thursday were told less than 24 hours earlier that the case had been deferred because of an issue with the Ministry of Defence. When councillors did gather for the greatly shortened special meeting, further explanation revealed that the issue centred over a wrong grid reference provided to the MoD.

Defence chiefs had responded that they had no objection to the plans for a site that was just yards from their base at RAF Lossiemouth and would be regularly overflown by aircraft 24 hours a day.  However, a planning official revealed that was because they had not been given the correct information.

The committee was told: “Late on Tuesday afternoon we were contacted by the Ministry of Defence who asked to withdraw the response they gave us to the consultation.

“Our consultation requests are generated automatically by a computer system – in this instance it managed to pull a grid reference for the council headquarters rather than the plotted site.

“The MoD seemed to rely on the grid reference in terms of their response, despite the description of the site clearly showing its being in Lossiemouth.”

The committee was told that the MoD worked with planning officials throughout Tuesday afternoon and much of Wednesday to see what the implications of the site were for the RAF base with a view to resolving matters and allowing the hearing to go ahead.

However, concerns did emerge with the committee told: “They have concerns in particular in relation to radar and the potential height of some of the houses on the site, and they wished therefore to give a full response which they hope to get to us by the end of this week.”

Following the meeting a Council spokesman said: “We apologise for the late postponement but the objectors will have the opportunity to state their case when the hearing is rearranged.”