COMMUNITY engagement is to take place on proposals for a Hillfoots residential development on land that has previously been described as a “functional floodplain”.

Allanwater Developments has submitted a Proposal of Application Notice (PAN) for a residential development which would extend Alva to the west.

The developers have previously seen a planning appeal dismissed after Clackmannanshire Council refused application for 244 houses at the same site, comprising land to the north and south of the A91, adjacent to the western boundary of the site.

At the time of refusal in 2023, the application went in front of the Planning Committee with an outstanding objection from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

A statutory consultee, SEPA considered the land to be a “functional floodplain”.

In the wake of the refusal, Allanwater told the Advertiser it was “confident” it will win permission after taking the case to the Scottish Government's Planning and Environmental Appeals Division.

However, the appeal was ultimately dismissed by a reporter appointed by the Scottish Ministers in March 2024 with flooding concerns sweeping away the plans.

In terms of flooding, part of the discussions at the time revolved around an access track, which was to be upgraded, being used as an informal flood defence measure.

The decision by the appeals reporter said: “Overall, I am not convinced that the reliance on the existing western access track to act as a flood defence measure, even if upgraded, is appropriate to protect future residential development from a potential flood risk.

“Even if a formal flood defence measure were to be proposed, it would have to be considered against the provisions of NPF4 [National Planning Framework 4] which seeks to strengthen resilience to flood risk by promoting avoidance as a first principle rather than introducing new flood defence measures.”

The reporter also noted unusual results from Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) completed on behalf of the developers.

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This stated that when the effects of future climate change are considered there is “marginal flooding” within the site from water that overtops the A91, but the developers contended that this would not be to an extent that would adversely affect the proposal.

SEPA raised concerns that changes to hydraulic modelling agreed from a previous FRA should have resulted in at least the same extent of flood risk, but less was shown.

The appeal notice said: “SEPA considers this matter to be anomalous and has not been resolved by the appellant through further evidence submitted as part of the appeal process or in the FRA addendum.

“If SEPA are correct, in relation to the outputs from the modelling, I acknowledge that the flood risk area within the southern area could be greater than that estimated by the FRA.”

It is not yet known what has changed in relation to the site or plans since the previous application.

As part of the current pre-application activity, a public exhibition will be held at the Cochrane Hall on July 30, from 12noon to 6pm.

The PAN is not a planning application, but marks the beginning of pre-application activity to consult the public.