A POTENTIAL development in Inglewood elicited fierce debate from Stirling councillors.
Elected members were split over whether to support a scheme amendment proposed by Aveling Homes at the September 18 meeting.
The developer wants to build seven townhouses at the rear of its Wood Street property, behind its existing 23-unit apartment building.
The proposal was previously rejected by council last year and a City report again recommended refusal because nothing had changed since then.
But Cr Bianca Sandri urged council approval, with a condition requiring the developer keep at least six of the eight mature trees on the site, to enable it to be advertised for public comment.
She undertook door knocking of neighbouring homes and said most people supported it if the trees were retained despite a 118-signature petition submitted against the proposal.
“Bottom line: they want the trees to be retained and they want to be consulted,” she said.
She argued the developer could demolish the trees “tomorrow” if they wanted, it would not set a precedent and would only allow for public comment.
Planning and development director Ross Povey clarified after public consultation the amendment would go to the Planning Minister for consideration, even if people did not support it, but the Minister could also order the City to proceed if it decided not to.
Cr David Lagan believed residents had already had their say via the petition and it would set a “problematic future reference”.
He reiterated points made in the report, including that the amendment would enable 30 homes on the site, 12 more than allowed, it would set a precedent for the 41 other similar lots nearby and went against residents’ wishes as reflected by the Beaufort Street Activity Corridor Strategy.
The report listed the only benefit of approval as it would help offset the developer’s costs incurred when it renovated the existing apartments.
Opponents alleged the developer had cut down existing trees on the site but Cr Stephanie Proud said these were “unsuitable” date and palm trees, which members of the gallery refuted.
She supported development of the townhouses because they would bring families to the area while Cr Giovanni Italiano asserted it was the “right property in the right place”.
“Having a development there isn’t going to affect anybody at all,” he said.
Debate between councillors often became fiery but Cr Sandri’s motion was eventually lost 6-7.
Council instead voted not to proceed with the amendment though Crs David Boothman, Proud, Sandri, Italiano, Suzanne Migdale and Mark Irwin voted against this.