Local plan paves way for new town

WORK on the development of Chapelton of Elsick could begin as soon as next year following the decision by the reporter to support the creation of a new £1 billion town at Elsick by allocating the land for housing development.

Land near Newtonhill has been allocated as suitable for the development by the Public Enquiry which examined the Aberdeesnshire Local Development Plan (LDP) which was carried out by the Scotish Government’s Directorate of Planning and Environmental Appeal.

The recommendations made by the plan were discussed at this week’s Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee meeting.

The report said: “Elsick would create a sustainable mixed community of a scale sufficient to meet its own infrastructure needs.” Elsick was described as “the most significant single proposal in the proposed plan”.

The report also explained that the Reporters recognise the challenges faced in delivering such a large development, given the magnitude of infrastructure required, however, they recognised that “significant” work had already been done to ensure the plan progressed.

Councillors approved the recommendations and praised the reporter’s endorsement of the Area committees work.

Councillor Peter Bellarby said: “The report from the reporters is a vindication of what we Councillors have done. I think they have recognised that we made a good decision with Elsick and having a settlement there.

“This way we will get a properly developed new town free from all of the mistakes that were made at Portlethen.” Councillor Bellarby also said that the Chapleton of Elsick development would allow the committee to protect Stonehaven and the surrounding towns as it ensures that the only other settlements which are build will be small as Elsick will meet a large percentage of the housing needs in the area.

Councillor Mollison also welcomed the reporters recommendations saying that the area committee had been “Fully supported” in their decision about Elsick.

Reacting to news that the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee supported the reporters recommendations, Lord Southesk, director of the Elsick Development Company, said: “I am delighted that the Reporters have endorsed Aberdeenshire Council’s plan in respect of the allocation at Elsick and to do so in such positive terms is extremely gratifying.“

“This encouraging response from the Reporters and from councillors at today’s committee meeting enables EDC to continue with the work needed to bring our plans into action as quickly as possible. Amongst other things, we have had a series of meetings with a number of house builders and housing associations, who understand what we are trying to achieve at Chapelton.”

The recommendations have now been presented to Aberdeenshire Council for review before final adoption of the plan at the end of April.

If approval is granted, the Elsick Development Company hopes to start work on the first phase, Cairnhill, in 2013.