Application lodged for £250m Toucks development

AN application to build a £250 million housing and business development in Stonehaven has been lodged with Aberdeenshire Council.

The application, lodged by Barratt East Scotland and Drum Property Group, is to establish planning permission in principle for 1500 homes on land to the west of Stonehaven, known as Toucks or Mill of Forest.

The developers also want to incorporate a business park, retail units, a new primary school, supermarket, hotel and community facilities in the project.

The proposal was first lodged as a “development bid” in November 2008 to Aberdeenshire Council’s Local Plan Development process, and public consultation has been on-going since April 2009 with meetings, presentations and exhibitions at various locations in the town.

The bid has not been included in the proposed local development plan, which is due to be adopted in late 2011.

In the application’s supporting documents, the developers state: “The development is of a size appropriate for a new neighbourhood centre, supported by its own facilities, including community, educational, medical, retail and sports uses.

“The proposed neighbourhood is of a scale that can contribute and support these uses. The concern with regard to allocating smaller pockets of residential development such as the 430 houses proposed in the PLDP is that they are simply bolt on development which will put pressure on existing facilities.”

Key issues which have been identified through the consultation exercise as concerning residents are flooding, the ability of Mackie Academy to cope with an increase in its roll size and the number of homes planned.

If given the go-ahead the project will take place in two phases, with the first phase seeing 800 homes, a school, supermarket, employment land and community facilities being delivered by 2016.

A new multi-model bridge over the A90, which would link to Mill of Forest Road is proposed as the main access route between the site and the town, while two new roundabouts at the Glasslaw junction and the A92 are also being touted.

The debate about the application has already started, with Upper Toucks resident Dr Hugh Morel, writing to the Leader to air his worries about the development.

He writes: “The application is being made despite the fact that the draft Development Plan for the area that was agreed by the Council last March specifically excluded development for the site in question.

“Whilst the Development Plan itself (updated after the March meetings) will not be formally adopted until next year, it seems that Barratts are taking advantage of the time of year when people are thinking of other things (especially Christmas and bad weather) to try and push through their major development application through the “back-door” – putting more pressure on local planners and councillors (and presumably Edinburgh if they don’t get their way) in advance of the formal adoption of the new local plan.”

The closing date for letters of representations, both objecting and in support, is December 23. More details can be found at http://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/planning/apps/detail.asp?ref_no=APP/2010/3646.