RESIDENTS of Ballantrae were out in force last week to have their say on their village’s share of nearly 2000 new homes planned for South Ayrshire.
Nearly 50 community members turned out at Ballantrae Parish Church on Thursday evening (October 4) to discuss a prospective 35 new homes set out for the village in the proposed South Ayrshire local development plan (LDP).
Those houses will be amongst the 711 envisaged from Carrick, including 375 on four sites for Maybole and 90 on three sites for Girvan.
Thursday’s meeting, organised and chaired by Girvan and South Carrick councillor Alec Clark, was in response to the lack of accessibility for Ballantrae residents to Girvan and Maybole – the only Carrick stops on the LDP’s South Ayrshire’s five community exhibitions last month.
South Ayrshire Council planning manager Christina Cox was summoned to hear residents’ grievances and they did not hold back in voicing their concerns.
To be sited to the northeast of the village – along the A77 and behind existing housing to the eastern side of Main Street – residents raised fears regarding the effect an influx of new children from the housing development would have on what they claimed is an already stretched Ballantrae Primary School.
The ability of the village’s sewerage system to cope with waste from more homes and the lack of economy in the village within which people can find work were also raised as issues.
Meanwhile, worries regarding road safety on the A77 coming into the village from the north have been long-standing with villagers.
The latest serious incident on September 5 saw a 55-year-old woman airlifted to Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock after colliding with a bus.
A total of 13 officers from Girvan and Colmonell Community Fire Stations were called to the scene and had to use hydraulic cutting equipment to free the injured woman from her car.
New Ballantrae resident John Hainey took up this concern and said: “As far as I am concerned anything to the east of the A77 should be mooted straight away.”
Some residents present on Thursday also felt they had not been adequately involved in the decision-making process thus far – an argument that Mrs Cox said disappointed her.
“We explored every way we know to alert the community and involve them in the planning process,” she said.
“From my perspective, it’s actually quite discouraging the amount of effort we put into it and the level of response that we got back.”
But not everyone was against the plans. Brian Stirling, proprietor of the Kings Arms Hotel at 40 Main Street, said: “I think it is a good idea to have the extra housing because I want the extra business.“
He added that there is not enough housing in the village for young people. “There used to be a football team and there are not enough young people to put together a football team nowadays,” he said.
“I know of several families in the village that have two children, male and female, that will have to move when the children meet a certain age. Where are they going to move to?”
His wife, Suzanne, agreed, but said she wanted to see any new housing going to young people from Ballantrae.
And local landowner Robert Dalrymple, who made the site of the proposed development available to South Ayrshire Council, said in-migration is necessary for the future survival of the village.
“I personally believe that the village needs to expand,” he said, and stated his belief that a larger population would help bolster the local school and village shop. He added that he would be happy to impose conditions on the development of the land.
“I would never built the houses myself but if a developer came to buy the land off me I think I would be in a good position to have a say in what gets done” he said.
“I would think that one-storey houses on one side would be agreeable to most people.”
Mrs Cox confirmed the council would be encouraging low-level building on the site, but that to promise bungalows would be misleading.
She reminded those assembled that the proposals within the LDP are “not set in stone”.
“This is a genuine consultation exercise,” she said. “We want to make sure that any housing development does not detract and fits in with Ballantrae.”
Anyone wishing to make a representation about the development plans for Ballantrae, the deadline for which is November 2, can do so online at www.south-ayrshire-consult.objective.co.uk/portal or in writing using a form available from Ballantrae Community Councillors.
Objections are expected to be considered by the council in early 2013, but timescales for developments will be dependent on market interest.