Residents of Sundibanks, east of Scalloway, have lodged a string of objections to a plan to build 10 private houses at the lower side of the road leading to Uradale.
The plan, by E&H Building Contractors, is for 10 detached single and storey-and-a-half houses to be built alongside the lower side of the road between two existing properties. Three of the houses – without a “panoramic” view – are aimed at first-time buyers.
The timber-clad Scandinavian style houses are to have integral garages and will include renewable technologies, with an option to upgrade to “near passive” specification. E&H have a reputation for building high-quality houses to an excellent standard.
The new scheme is instead of an earlier proposal to build houses further north on the upper side of the Sundibanks road – an area zoned for housing in the recently agreed Local Development Plan, but which was going to cost too much to service.
The new LDP has just passed a lengthy approval process by the Scottish government and the SIC and was intended to give developers more certainty when submitting their plans and avoid unnecessary expense.
Dozens of areas were identified throughout Shetland where landowners and developers were keen to see houses built. But this does not stop applications being made for areas not specified in the LDP.
It is understood that “a very strong case will have to be made” for any application for a site not listed in the LDP.
E&H spokesman Drewie Manson said that there was terrific demand for housing and the firm had received a great many enquiries already about the Sundibanks site. Additionally a deal was in place for E&H to buy the site subject to planning permission being granted.
E&H will also put in a double-track road to the development at their expense and endeavour to make the construction process as painless as possible for existing residents.
But East Voe residents objecting to the scheme say that construction traffic will create “unsafe and dangerous” conditions on the steep and narrow single-track road.
Some of the objections make reference to the zoning definitions in the old LDP, but this has been superceded by the recently agreed scheme.
They also question how access can remain uninterrupted during a proposed widening of the road which will create two lanes as far as the site access to the south side of the development and widening of the single-track will continue as far as Easterhoull.
Residents are also complaining about road run-off, overshadowing of existing houses, the “urban” development not being in character for the area and that previous plans of a similar type have been turned down.
Barry and Senga McMillan of Havra, East Voe, Scalloway, have written to the SIC planning department. They said the development “will severely restrict the access for residents and could be dangerous particularly during the winter months when there is ice and snow making the road slippery”.
The McMillans stated: “Even at the moment it can be difficult for vehicles to negotiate this road during the winter and the increased volume of traffic will make this worse.
“If vehicles have to stop for construction traffic whilst driving up this road in winter conditions they may not be able to re-start and may end up sliding back down the road. An unsafe and dangerous possibility which would conflict with other users of this area.”
Meanwhile the owners of Hillside Cottage, Sally Spence and Ruth Fox, and their tenant Philip Shirley “object to a one-and-a-half storey property on this site on the grounds of overshadowing and an impact on the privacy of Hillside Cottage. There may also be a loss of daylight to Hillside Cottage as a result.” A single-storey house would be more appropriate, they said.
They also said there was a great deal of surface water run-off from the road and this has been a problem at their property since new houses were built further up the hill. “Currently, there are no obvious drainage systems in place to take account of water running off the hill. We would hope that any modifications to the Sundibanks Road would take this into account,” they added.
Andrew Blackadder of Trola, East Voe, objects on the grounds of zoning policy [which applied under previous LDPs]. He stated: “Only single houses would be considered, not an urban type housing estate which should be located according to policy within or close to existing settlements.”
Mr Blackadder said the case had not been made why the site should be “an exception” and given its scale, prominence, distance from the nearest settlement, and negative visual impact, it “clearly” should not be developed for housing.
He wrote: “The design and style of the development is not appropriate for such a prominent site. It is using classic urban type housing and dropping them on to the site without any thought of their impact and fit with the landscape.”
Additionally, Mr Blackadder pointed out visual impacts and the negative effect the development would have on the rentability of the house at Easterhoull. He also claimed that if the road was widened and improved it would become even more dangerous, owing to cars driving faster.
The Priest family of Brekka said the suggested configuration of the houses placed a one-and-a-half storey house directly in front of their house.
They stated: “It will significantly detract from the value of our property and our enjoyment of it. The building would also overshadow our garden and detract from our enjoyment of that.”
However, the Priests are “willing to withdraw this objection” if “the single storey house … were to be swapped with the over-dominating one-and-a-half storey house to be built immediately in front of our house”.
They added: “We want to see Scalloway develop and young families have access to houses. Hopefully there can be some compromise over siting, we can remove this objection and we can all get on with our lives.”
Scalloway Community Council has meanwhile commented that “due to the condition of the road, during the winter months when conditions are poor there is already considerable displaced parking in the area and an additional 10 housed would add significantly to this problem”.