Earls Cross plans are overdevelopment
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Sir, I refer to the letter published in last week’s edition of the Northern Times from Willie Morrison relating to the proposal to restore the grade B listed Ambassador House (former school hostel) in Earls Cross Road, Dornoch.
Like your correspondent, as next-door neighbours to Ambassador House, my wife and I welcome plans to bring it into beneficial use.
However these plans are only one part of a comprehensive set of development proposals within the policies of Ambassador House; in addition to the nine flats to be contained within the house, a further 18 houses are proposed.
Whilst we are not averse to a reasonable number of new dwellings being built, we question the sense of solely accessing some 27 new dwelling units from Earls Cross Road.
The road is in effect an adopted track with no passing places, which copes with difficulty in servicing the needs of the seven houses and the Church of Scotland Old Person’s home "Oversteps" to which it provides access.
The road has a pleasant rural character, and is well looked after by the residents, who where possible maintain its verges. It is popular with visitors who visit the "gallows " site and the residents of the home who, in fine weather, are able to take leisurely walks along its length or be pushed in their wheelchairs by staff or relatives.
Children can and do play in safety – this informal enjoyment of the surroundings only being possible because of the low level of traffic and the scale and nature of the road and its surrounds.
The inadequacy of the road is demonstrated by the weekly visits of the council refuse lorry, which has to reverse along the entire length of the road because there is insufficient space for it to turn. Large vehicles bringing deliveries to the houses, and particularly to Oversteps, experience similar difficulties and cause damage to soft verges and present a pedestrian safety hazard.
In short Earls Cross Road is entirely unsuitable as an access road for such a volume of development, and it is certainly unacceptable as a construction access. The prospect of large earth moving equipment being manoeuvred down Earls Cross Road, by drivers unfamiliar with its width or geometry, is not one we relish, and worry about the potential damage and risk to pedestrian safety.
A previously approved proposal for development of Ambassador House and its policies provided access to the majority of the dwellings proposed from Earls Cross Gardens, a sensible arrangement, facilitated along a road capable of taking the volume of traffic and size of vehicle likely to be necessary to construct and ultimately service the houses.
We regret that if the development is allowed to go ahead as planned we are unlikely to continue to enjoy the simple pleasures of living in this location, as Willie Morrison did all those years ago.
Gordon and Alison Davies,
Earls Cross Road