A MAJOR housing development is going ahead on the outskirts of Cumnock — a year after a proposal for 299 homes was knocked back.

The site, at Rigg Road, on the north edge of the town near its boundary with Auchinleck, will have 156 new homes.

Last year protesters attacked large scale house building in the area due to fears of adding to traffic congestion from the supercampus. 

Members of the planning committee heard from council planning officer, Fiona Finlay, that there will be a mix of house types with different designs to suit various householders and families.

She said: “The scale of the development is appropriate to the local area plan and will be well served for pedestrians and traffic, with a good footpath network.”

Access for vehicles will be by two points on Rigg Road, while cyclists and pedestrians can also reach Auchinleck Road via a pathway from the site.

Mark Scott, engineer with Ayrshire Roads Alliance, said: “The site has been looked at and there are no traffic capacity issues.

“The main concern was linkage into the Cumnock network, while there is a good cycle and footway link into Auchinleck Road, for those walking or going to bus stops.

“We have asked for all these to be in place before properties are occupied, while we will extend the 40mph speed limit along Rigg Road.”

Ms Finlay confirmed that there were less houses than the original application made by the developer, Mooncatcher Ltd, describing it as a ‘more courtyard style of development’.

“A landscaping scheme for the proposed development is being submitted as part of the plans and phased in prior to the occupation of the last house, on approval of the planning authority,” she added.

There will also be a central open green area in the development while there could be a possible road linking to the former Holmhead Hospital site should that also be upgraded in future.

Among the objections made to the council was one that claimed that the site is ‘designated green belt’ , but this is not the case. It is an allocation housing site in the local plan for the area.

Others questioned the need for further development in the locality, with the new superschool also being built a short distance away, creating issues with the amount of construction, noise levels, air pollution and the impact on the local environment.

In reply the planning department said: “This issue is unavoidable, notwithstanding that it is understandably frustrating to live with for any extended period of time.

“Nonetheless, it is a consequence of releasing land for development and, while new sites are put forward within any local plan, this is done via a robust assessment of housing needs and demands.

“The planning system cannot timetable the build rate of any developers, as such, but can control the surrounding road networks where appropriate.”

It was decided that no noisy construction work will be restricted to 8am-6pm, Monday to Friday, 8am-1pm on a Saturday and no work on a Sunday.

Local councillors welcomed the plans, including Billy Crawford who said: “I am looking forward in anticipation to this becoming finalised. It is a better site, with the new school coming as well.”