THE adoption of a masterplan to develop the Murtholm outside Langholm will pave the way for the construction of 200 houses.
Members of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s economy and resources committee are being recommended to adopt the masterplan next Tuesday.
The move has been welcomed by Loreburn Housing Association which is developing the site and will include extra-care sheltered housing.
While the site is remote from the town, the plan includes the construction of a foot and cycle bridge to connect the new homes to the town.
A masterplan was required to be prepared for the site because of its scale.
Loreburn also had to do a transport assessment which, together with other technical and environmental studies, have informed the masterplan.
The report to members said: “The masterplan provides the principles for the site’s development and will be a material consideration when determining subsequent planning applications for future phases.”
Loreburn held talks with the council from April 2019 onwards. In attendance were Transport Scotland, which is responsible for the A7, and representatives from the council’s development management and planning service, roads and strategic housing services.
The first masterplan and supporting technical documents were submitted to the council in August 2020.
Consultation was undertaken, including with Transport Scotland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, NatureScot, Historic Environment Scotland and the council’s roads department, archaeologist, flood risk management team, contaminated land officer, access officer, sustainable travel officer and strategic housing.
After comments from all consultees and an informal response from officers in October 2020, which advised the masterplan was insufficient, another meeting was held in December 2020.
An updated masterplan and supporting information on specific subject matters was submitted in January followed by another plan in February which councillors are now asked to adopt.
The report added: “A pre-application consultation has been carried out to ensure the masterplan reflects the vision and aspiration of all key stakeholders.
“More public engagement and community consultation will be carried out at the detailed planning application stage.
“The masterplan will contribute to economic recovery in the area post-COVID-19 and allow development to proceed for private and affordable housing.
“Some of the units will be extra-care houses. Loreburn has worked with the adult health and social care partnership to provide homes for people with particular needs.”
Graham Robertson, Loreburn’s head of development, told the E&L Advertiser: “The masterplan is the first step in terms of getting the permissions we need to start on site.
“The council is being asked to adopt the principle of the development and all the bits which go with it, like the bridge, the open spaces and where the homes will be. It’s not consent to crack on.
“We’re about to submit detailed planning applications for the first phase which is the extra-care housing, along with a separate application for the bridge. They’re sitting with the council at the moment.
“We’re all of the opinion that the masterplan will be signed off and the applications are sitting there, ready to go.”
Mr Robertson said Loreburn had hoped to start on upgrading the road at the start of the year but it had been delayed.
It had to be done before they could go on site but the contractor was ready to start.
Murtholm had been earmarked for housing in the council’s local development plan for some years so this development would not come as a surprise.