Developers behind plans for 800 new houses at the site of the former Fairways golf course in Inverness have heard opposition from local residents.
Representatives from Aberdeen-based Kirkwood Homes joined a recent meeting of Slackbuie Community Council.
They gave a presentation on the proposals for up to 800 houses, which also include space for businesses and a primary school, together with improved local leisure space.
During a question and answer session it was made clear that residents do not support the plans.
Highland Council planners recommended that no future development should take place on the land during consultation for the forthcoming Inner Moray Firth Local Development Plan last year.
Ewan Gunn, a member of the Keep Slackbuie Green group reminded them of this and asked: “What benefits would the current 71 households and the wider community in general have to gain from an 800-house development on the last piece of green space in this area?”
Planning consultant Ewan Maclean of Emac Planning said: “The current local development plan is going through a period of change. It is out for consultation. The council will review it. We are hopeful there will be an allocation there.
“We are trying to keep development to where the holes were on the course. We are hoping to bring it back into commercial use while not destroying the ecology and green aspects of it.”
He added that 25% of the homes would provide affordable housing.
Councillor Ken Gowans said: “The Inner Moray Firth development plan has never been particularly supportive of development on this site. It is questionable whether that would change.
“At which point (in the planning process) would you withdraw your proposals?
“We have seen a lot of over development in the last 10-15 years that has stretched our community. As a council we are trying to mitigate that.
“You are also talking about providing land for a primary school. Who would be left to build that primary school, would it be Highland Council or would the developer build that? It is all very well to build houses, we need to build communities.”
Mr Maclean responded: “The plan is up for review. It is within the will of the council to deallocate other sites which are not delivering.”
Allan Rae, land director at Kirkwood Homes said it was too early in the process to say at which stage they might withdraw.
Mr Rae added: “We are open to having a discussion about the school. The bottom line is the site will be made available quickly. It will be there and it will be serviced. The delivery is something we want to discuss further.”
Norman Cordiner, chairman of Inshes and Milton of Leys Community Council said there is a need for an 18-hole golf course – not houses – at the site.
The land was previously home to 18 holes. Now only a nine-hole course is in operation.
Mr Cordiner also said the proposals would but pressure on existing infrastructure, traffic levels and the local secondary school.
He added: “I feel the housing developers have had a good run. We have had a lot of housing built.
“More building is not needed. They don’t make green any more. Once it is gone it is gone. People come to Inverness and the Highlands not for house building, they come here because of its greenery.
“We need to retain the green we have got there. I do not think this is the place for the houses.”
Mr Rae said the planning process would deal with mitigating impact pressure.
He added: “This site has a potential to be different from some of other developments taking place south of Inverness. There is a way of having a landscaped infrastructure which does accommodate the housing.”