Biggar just couldn’t cope with what would be its second large new housing estate being built on its fringes in a matter of a few years.
That is the argument the town’s Civic Society is making on the eve of an exhibition to try to ‘sell’ the idea of another major estate being constructed in the town, following hard on the heels of the Pentland Reach development on the Edinburgh Road.
This added to the scheme by English-based developer Gladman Developments to create a 100 house estate on a greenfield site between Station Road, Boghall, and Tinto View has the potential, say objectors, to abruptly increase the town’s 2,000 population by around a quarter, swamping the local schools and infrastructure such as roads and sewerage.
The developer is staging a public exhibition outining its proposals in Biggar’s Gillespie Centre tomorrow (Thursday) between 2pm and 8pm.
Gladman’s told the Gazette on Tuesday their development would have a “maximum” of 100 new homes, less than objectors had feared.
The Civic Society explained its opposition this week, a spokesperson saying: “While there is a need for some new housing in Biggar, particularly affordable housing, a development on this scale would be far more than the town could cope with.
“In the draft South Lanarkshire Local Development Plan, there was a proposal to zone part of this area for housing but the council rejected this idea because they felt that local infrastructure such as schools and the sewerage works would not be able to cope.
“The council were also concerned that access to the site via Station Road and through the Boghall estate would be inadequate.
“In addition, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) raised concerns about flood risk at the site. Now Gladman Developments are planning to apply for planning consent to develop an even larger area.
“The Civic Society totally agree with the assessment in the draft local plan that this area is not suitable for housing and indicated this in our response to the consultation on the draft local plan.
“We recognise the need for new housing in Biggar, but we feel that current demand will be met by the ongoing development at Pentland Reach.
“We urge the public to attend the exhibition and make their views known, not just to the developers, but also to South Lanarkshire Council once a planning application is lodged, probably in October.”
Members of the Civic Society will be present outside the exhibition to give members of the public more information about the planning process and how they can make their views on the proposals known to planning officials.