Councillors in Perth are worried that community groups will miss out now that plans to build flats on land where a neighbourhood centre was demolished have been given the green light.
Fairfield Neighbourhood Centre was demolished in 2019 after council investigators found that the building’s roof was so fragile it would be unlikely to be able to withstand a serious snowfall.
Groups that used the centre were decanted to Riggs Road and until lockdown restrictions were enforced, a seniors lunch group met at the Tulloch Institute almost a mile away.
Hadden Group’s plans for 18 two-bedroom flats on the site, which will front onto Fairfield Avenue and McLeod Court, were recently approved by council planners under delegated powers.
The affordable homes will have properties with enhanced access on the ground floor, but local councillors are worried that Fairfield will now be left without a community space to use when neighbours are able to come together again.
Perth City North SNP representatives John Rebbeck and Ian Massie have written to Perth and Kinross Council to ask what provisions can be made for a shared space now that the centre, which was run by the local authority, won’t be replaced.
Mr Rebbeck said: “I welcome the provision of affordable housing but have a number of concerns.
“Whilst welcoming disabled access flats on the bottom floor, the lack of community space anywhere in this development is highly regrettable given that the site was originally a well-used community centre.
“I’d like to know what formal consultation took place with residents with regard to this development.”
Mr Massie said he’d rather have seen fewer three bedroom flats built to help house bigger families.
He added: “Whilst welcoming any provision of extra housing, our understanding is that larger family type housing is most required in Fairfield.”
Housing and communities convener Bob Brawn said that he has requested details about the consultation and alternative facilities.
The Conservative councillor said: “The site of the former Fairfield Community Centre, demolished in 2019, has been approved for 18 new affordable homes of which 2 will be for tenants with additional support needs.
“Two local elected members have raised some concerns including the loss of a community facility. Accordingly, I have approached officers for comment.
“That said, they agree with me that we must recognise the need for more affordable housing in the Perth area and the expectation that the need will increase with a growing population.
“However, finding suitable land to build on in an area of great demand is always difficult and when an opportunity such as this presents itself we must see if it is suitable to meet some of that demand.”
Perth and Kinross Council was approached for comment.