Views sought on possible Luthermuir housing sites

Residents of Luthermuir are being asked about the suitability of three fields within the village for residential development.

Reporters appointed by Scottish Ministers are currently carrying out an examination of the proposed Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan.

Aberdeenshire Council put forward land which is currently part of the Caldhame Plantation, east of Luthermuir, as the area which should be earmarked as suitable for housing development in the Local Plan.

This proposal attracted a large number of objections and the matter was referred to the Reporters, along with all the other contentious elements of the proposed plan.

As part of their consideration of the issue, the Reporters are considering the appropriateness of altenative sites suggested by those making representations.

The three fields, known as sites K31 and K33, are one at The Chapel and the two which currently make up the Glebe of the local Parish Church.

Taken together, the three fields are considered in principle to be suitable for 50 houses.

Development Plan Officer Brian Archibald is seeking comments on the possible allocation of the three fields for development by January 25.

Any comments received will be taken into account by the Reporters when they make recommendations to the council.

Comments received will be passed to the council and the promoter of the site who will be given the opportunity to respond.

A summary of the representations relating to the site and the council’s response can be viewed on the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan website.

The inclusion of the Caldhame Plantation site in the Local Plan as suitable for housing was the subject of considerable debate at public meeting held in the village in September 2010.

At that meeting, the owner of the woods, John McWilliam, and his agent, revealled their masterplan for the area in light of Aberdeenshire Council having earmarked the woods as an area for development in the Draft Local Plan.

Sixteen acres of naturally regenerated trees would be removed it development got the go-ahead. A further 16 acres would remain, which it is proposed to give to the community to be run by a woodland association.

Mr McWilliam already has planning permission for nine houses in the wood and the Aberdeenshire Council recommendation to the Local Plan is for 50 more.