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Drymen Development Priorities – difficult decisions?

Well, it was a late one last night for the LIVE Park team and those in the community who attended the Community Council meeting in Drymen. The Village Hall was packed full to hear from senior NHS staff regarding the resignation of the GP and the new Pharmacy that is opening in June.  There was a lively exchange on the issues this raised and how it’s to be managed.

The agenda then moved onto the LIVE Park consultation briefing which was in addition to the informal ‘drop-in’ session we held before the Community Council meeting.

Overall, this discussion highlights just how sensitive and emotive new development is in Drymen. The challenge is that we are preparing a plan for the community’s development needs over the long term and thinking to the future. This is informed by evidence and earlier work we have been involved in with the community, and by the Community Action Plan. It involves facing up to difficult decisions for the future when there are few options for new development without expanding the Village outwith its current boundaries.

The key points that we outlined to people at the Community Council meeting last night included:

  • The Main Issues Report reflects the ideas discussed at last year’s public workshops (The Charrette!), where the steer we were given was to focus new development within the Village rather than outwith.
  • Advice from Stirling Council and Rural Stirling Housing Association confirms there is an identified need for new housing (and as a planning authority we are required to identify sufficient land for housing that responds to the need).
  • The main change from the existing Local Plan is the proposed Housing site for 16 homes on the Main Street (MIR 62)
  • Main proposed changes to existing policies concerned housing and rural economy.
  • Planning is not black and white and there is a need to make a balanced decision on development needs – not everyone will agree.

What we heard back in response from people at the Community Council meeting last night was:

  •  Balancing new development with safeguarding the natural and built environment was not being balanced correctly – people felt that there was too much emphasis on development.
  • There were concerns from some over the need for any new housing and development – was additional land to the Stirling Road site (with planning consent for 36 homes but undeveloped) needed or necessary?
  • There were also some people who felt there was a need for more housing for local people, though concern that changes in housing policies would disadvantage local people to access new housing
  • There should be better services, supporting infrastructure and amenities put in place before any development takes place – some felt that this was already quite poor for residents (no all-weather sports pitch, little for young people to do in the evenings and weekends, a poor bus service)
  • Support for the focus on redeveloping the Salmon Leap Inn site and improving the village square
  • The site outlined on Main Street for 16 new homes raised concerns over impact on:
    • The Conservation Area and adjacent Listed Building
    • Approach into Drymen
    • Suitability in terms of safe access, topography, viability
    • Landscape setting
    • Density and design
    • There was a need for an increase in car parking provision, better traffic management and a safe pedestrian crossing in the Village centre. It was agreed that the identified car park on Balmaha Road was appropriate.
    • The owner of the vacant garage site on the North side of the Village Square was keen to see the site redevelopment and is keen to work with the community and others

You will see from this short summary of some of the main points, that we covered a lot of ground and there was good discussion with a range of contributions.  This is really important in a consultation like this one, and we’re keen that even more views are submitted to us before the consultation period ends on 7th July.

So, tell us, what do you think?  Do you agree with what we are proposing for Drymen?  Do you agree with the feedback that we heard from the people at the Community Council meeting.

This is your chance to have your say, to help shape the future of Drymen, and the wider National Park.

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