THE first phase of a major housing development, and the overall framework for what will eventually grow into 1,000 homes in Sauchie, have been agreed.

Clackmannanshire Council's Planning Committee has on May 2 approved the overall masterplan and the development of the first 157 houses to the north-west of the town at Branshill Road.

The site will be developed in distinct phases, which is expected to take around 15 years or more, with a range of conditions attached to both applications.

The applications follow a planning appeal decision after the council previously refused the development over its impact on the education estate and lack of social housing, as reported by the Advertiser in the past.

The site will be accessed from a spine road, which will link the B908 to Branshill Road and which will be able to accommodate buses.

A new roundabout next to the existing Jewson builders' merchants on the B908 will be formed along with a network of interconnecting streets and paths which encourage active travel, serving the housing areas.

There are still outstanding matters to be addressed and approved by the council before construction works can begin.

At the meeting, a range of questions and issues were raised by councillors, including on education provision.

In a legal agreement made after planning permission in principle (PPP) was granted on appeal the developer will either contribute towards the extension of Craigbank PS or the council will have the option to deliver a new school on site with contributions.

The contribution will be calculated based on the development's impact on the education estate.

As part of that, the developer must safeguard land for a potential school, but it is understood that if the local authority decides not to go for a new-build there by the time the 300th house is complete, this area could then become housing.

Committee chair Cllr Denis Coyne highlighted that this means the local authority is required to make that decision a third of the way through the overall development while Cllr Bryan Quinn sought to ensure the council is not “left out of pocket” as a result.

Other topics such as biodiversity, grouting to fill in shallow mineworkings, flooding risks, health requirements including a lack of engagement from NHS Forth Valley and the lack of social housing were also discussed.

In terms of the masterplan, chair Denis Coyne said: “Listening to the responses, there's an awful lot of things that's still got to be decided.”

He added: “Are we looking at this too soon?”

An officer explained that there was nothing approved on the day that would “jeopardise” the council having control over the development with applications for each phase and conditions attached to provide the details, such as the phase one application.

Cllr Fiona Law added elected members were keen to ensure the local authority retained control over the development as concerns were raised after works seemingly already took place on the site.

Council papers explained this related to overhead powerlines being taken underground or diverted for the development, with works undertaken by Scottish Power Energy Networks.

This included some tree felling in the vicinity and did not require planning permission.