Road safety fears lead to Forfar development refusal

Plans for hundreds of new homes in Forfar could be scuppered due to road safety concerns over a notorious junction.

Mark Dowie
Friday, 21st April 2023, 12:00pm
Road safety fears lead to Forfar development refusal

It follows members of Angus Council’s development standards committee blocking a Muir Homes’ bid for nearly 160 houses at Westfield after planning officials slated the plans as having “significant design failings”.

Fears were raised about future noise complaints from residents because of the proximity of Orchardbank industrial estate, and councillors said a planned children’s play area near the busy A94 Glamis Road was in the wrong place.

But at the committee’s recent meeting it was the Lochlands junction on the A90 Forfar by-pass which emerged as a key issue, as the southern access to the town is the only junction which is not grade-separated.

Safety improvements have been put in place since the by-pass opened in the 1980s, and traffic can no longer cross the carriageway to turn north.

Although it is still the scene of regular accidents, Transport Scotland did not object to the Muir plan. But they said that was on the understanding that Angus Council brings forward an upgrade scheme for the junction before any other development on land zoned for housing on the west of the town.

Montrose councillor Bill Duff said: “We still have one junction that doesn’t meet modern standards and I think that’s unacceptable.

"Transport Scotland have not objected. That means this developer will get off scot-free for developing this junction while others that come along later are going to have to pick up the tab.”

Committee members unanimously backed the recommendation for refusal.

Muir Homes representative Elaine Farquharson-Black told councillors the planning document contained “sweeping claims” about the proposal.

She said: “Refusing this application makes the council susceptible to houses being developed on land outside Forfar (development boundary).

“It is in my client’s interest to build safe developments – they have been doing that for 50 years and would do that here.”

The company may now try to appeal the decision.

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