Plans for a major development of 21 houses in Scalloway were once again recommended for refusal by the council’s planning board today.
Councillors voted by five votes to four against the application by JHB Ltd, currently in liquidation, which first went to planning in January. The councillors at the planning board meeting said that many issues which had been raised at that time had still not been addressed.
The application for 21 houses and access roads and parking at Utnabrake would have been the first phase of a larger development, for which outline planning permission was sought, which would ultimately comprise around 100 homes, business and commercial zones, all at Utnabrake and stretching northwards from Scalloway. JHB Ltd had also pledged to make space available somewhere within the controversial development for a health centre. This larger development was also recommended for refusal.
Chairman of the board Frank Robertson said that the 21 houses would be a major development for the area and would require a road system, but the board had not been given an adequate traffic assessment.
This was echoed by roads chief Ian Halcrow, who said the traffic information had been “quite inadequate” and the application was “no further forward” than when it came before the planning board in January.
Councillor Caroline Miller moved that the application be recommended for refusal as there was insufficient transport information, but councillor Gary Robinson said there was more wrong with the application than that. As well as the roads issue, he reiterated points already raised saying the development was “premature”, the public benefit had not been demonstrated and it was a poor layout on good agricultural land.
Councillor Laura Baisley said the “dilemma” here was that the council wanted development but this application had “more holes than a sieve”. The fact that the developer had not found time to do the roads assessment was “disappointing” and further consideration was needed for an application of this size. Reluctantly, therefore, she would be recommending refusal.
However councillor Jim Budge recommended giving permission for the 21 houses. He was not convinced a traffic assessment was needed for this number of houses, he said, and would support the building of the houses if the requirement for a health centre was removed. He was backed by councillor Bill Manson, who said the proposed road, which would be built by the developer and would not go past the school, could stand traffic from 21 houses but not the numbers from the larger outline development.
The two councillors lost the vote and the application will now go before the Full Council.
Speaking after the meeting John Halcrow of JHB Ltd vowed to continue the fight to develop the area, if necessary taking it to the Scottish ministers. He dismissed the query over roads as being a “smokescreen” and said the development would be “crucial” for his company, which owns the intellectual property of the plans. Should the development ever go ahead the actual builder would be a matter of negotiation, he said.