Plans lodged for new £1 billion Mearns town

An artists impression of the new town.
An artists impression of the new town.

THE building of a new £1billion town at Elsick came a step closer last week as a planning application was submitted to Aberdeenshire Council.

An outline bid for the new 4,000 home community near Newtonhill was lodged by Elsick Development Company (EDC) along with full plans for the first phase of 800 homes.

It is believed the new town will generate over 8000 jobs. In the long term master-plan for the town, a total of seven neighbourhoods on the 2000 acre site are set to be developed, creating a total of 9,000 homes. This would make it Scotlands largest settlement for a generation.

Covering an area of more than 145 acres, the first phase of the development sets out a blueprint for a new sustainable community in the region. Its key features include a self-sufficient and walkable community with shops, services and jobs all accessible by foot or cycle, a neighbourhood centre and high street, and a Primary school that can be used by both students and the community at large.

Leisure and community amenities, retail and business facilities and opportunities for economic development are also featured in the plans.

Lord Southesk, director of the Elsick Development Company, said: “It has taken a great deal of work and commitment to get to this point. Transparency has been key to the development of the masterplan and will remain so if we receive permission.

“Chapelton will not only provide a substantial economic boost to the area, but offers an opportunity to create a new style of living that will undoubtedly provide home buyers with a vibrant community in the north east of Scotland. From an extensive range of homes and schools through to a well planned town centre and green space, this is a chance to deliver a new sustainable community on a highly significant scale.”

EDC has conducted extensive community consultations which have involved approximately 500 people over the last year. The process allowed the community to work with a world-class design team to develop the masterplan at a ten-day public charrette last year.

The development company has undertaken a further two public consultations since the start of the year to ensure that the members of the public have had a chance to provide feedback prior to submission of the planning documents.

Many of the improvements to the masterplan have emerged in response to detailed technical and environmental requirements that the designers have been exploring since March. Changes include a revised road layout that fits with the topography of the site and a new biomass energy centre, which will enable Chapelton to be carbon neutral by 2016.

Aberdeenshire Council will now undertake a 28 day statutory consultation on the planning documentation where members of the public will be given another opportunity to comment on proposals.

The local authority aims to adopt its Local Development Plan in December with planning applications determined in early 2012.

If approval is granted, the Elsick Development Company hopes to start work on phase one, Cairnhill next year.