COUNCILLORS have given their backing to a bid to build over 100 new houses in Stonehaven.
Despite members of the Kincardine and Mearns area committee having clear reservations about the project, councillors supported Aberdeen-based Churchill Homes’ application for planning permission in principle to build 109 homes at Carron Den, Mill of Forest Road when they met on Tuesday.
The application will now go before Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services committee for approval.
Stonehaven and Lower Deeside councillor Mike Sullivan laid out the main concerns shared by several of the area committee members, as well as the 54 people who objected to the application.
He said: “This has got two things going for it – it is quite a suitable basic site and it has excellent design contained within it which is quite a refreshing change. Hopefully one or two designers are learning from the Elsick experience.”
“But,” he added. “There are peripheral elements within the application that we are not happy with.
“First of all there is the access – the junction at the north end is going to be fraught with problems. I assume, fairly, that a lot of the people who live in these houses are going to be commuting to Aberdeen by car.”
Mr Sullivan said that the route onto the A90 which took commuters under the railway line was much shorter than going into Stonehaven and would be the most widely used route to get to Aberdeen.
“It is going to become a rat run and it is going to have to be totally re-engineered to make it safe,” he said.
Mr Sullivan also raised the issue of flooding and said: “Water has got to go somewhere. We have learnt from bitter experience around the countryside that water needs to find its own way home. You are not going to tell me that there is not going to be a major impact on the Carron. The Carron will be the exit point for a lot of water and that concerns me dramatically.”
Mr Sullivan went on to raise issues over the stability of the site, pointing out slippages at one of the banks.
Fellow ward councillor Peter Bellarby agreed with what was said and added: “These are significant problems and matters which have been raised by a significant number of objectors.”
North Kincardine councillor Ian Mollison said: “I’m not sure about this application but I’m not sure what we can do to stop it. There is a great number of concerns being evinced.
“I have concerns about one road access, albeit there is a cycle path that can be used in emergencies. It is good, but it is not quite good enough – that’s probably not sufficient for turning it down. I sense there is unease amongst my colleagues but I suspect it is going to go ahead anyway.”
Talking about the decision the area committee took in March 2010 to earmark the site for 110 houses in the proposed Local Development Plan, Mearns councillor George Carr said: “I think a lot of the discussion we are having now should have taken place on March 9 or 10 (2010). We are where we are now.”
Council officers had given their support to the development, citing its design credentials as a key factor.
Peter Bellarby said: “It is a very difficult position that we are in. It is with very great reluctance that I think we have to send it to ISC with recommendation for approval, regretfully thought it is, with the concerns that have been raised.”