A group of Law villagers have won a victory against one of the United Kingdom’s biggest housebuilders.
They live in the vicinity of the huge Persimmon development of 157 new homes off Muirhead Drive and were relieved in January when one of their local councillors, David Shearer, insisted that that a condition be inserted in the planning permission to instruct that no heavy lorries move on and off the site between 8am and 9.30am and between 3pm and 5pm. This was to safeguard local children walking to and from school.
There was outrage when, less than two months into construction starting, Persimmon applied to drop the condition on the grounds that it was “unreasonably restrictive.”
The company offered to have an employee specifically tasked with walking with lorries to to “safely direct and monitor construction traffic whilst ensuring there is no impediment to school pupils travelling safely along Muirhead Drive.”
The bid attracted nine objections from local residents, claiming that councillors were being asked to put young lives at risk in order to increase the profit Persimmon would make from the new homes.
The company countered by claiming that the timescale in which the estate was built could affect first-time buyers’ right to claiming government ‘Help to Buy’ grants.
It did, however, confirm that the profit margin would be less the more time the construction took.
It also claimed that, according to surveys it had taken, there were very few pupils using Muirhead Drive as a walking route.
A council survey actually found none on the day it was conducted.
The council’s own planning department seemed minded to grant Persimmons’ wishes, quoting policies such as one which states that planning permission conditions should not be used as traffic calming measures.
However, at a meeting of the planning committee last wek, the veteran SNP Councillor Shearer successfully argued that the condition stay in place.
His constituents have claimed that site traffic was breaching the condition since work started. They have submitted timed photos and video to back the allegation which is now under investigation by the council.
No comment from Persimmon was forthcoming at the time of publishing.