Councillors discuss plans for major development

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COUNCILLORS met to discuss plans for a major “mixed-use” development at Netherley this week.

Bancon Developments want to build 70 homes, five commercial units and a children’s nursery on land adjacent to Lairhillock School.

Members of the Kincardine and Mearns area committee held a pre-determination meeting at the school on Monday evening to discuss the application, which seeks planning permission in principle, as it would be “significantly contrary” to Aberdeenshire Council’s Development Plan.

According to the application, there would also be allotments, a community orchard, pond and associated roads and landscaping included in the 4.7 hectare development.

The developers state that the houses built would be made up of 28 three bed apartments/maisonettes, 18 three bed terraces; 8 three bed semi-detached; 3 four bed courtyard dwellings; 15 four bed town houses; 4 four bed town houses and 4 five bed courtyard houses.

The council would expect 17 of these to be affordable, and for Bancon to contribute towards the improvement of the library and community and recreational facilities.

27 letters of objection have been received by the local authority raising concerns about the proposals, including traffic fears, urbanisation of the countryside, inadequate public consultation and the loss of productive agricultural land.

One local stated: “This is an opportunistic attempt by the applicant to take advantage of Lairhillock School as an enabler for what would be another soul-less, incongruous looking commuter suburb of Aberdeen.”

Another said: “With a major new town development of 4000 – 6000 houses proposed to be built at Elsick any nearby areas such as Netherley, Cookney, Maryculter and the like should surely be retained – ie protected – both for its residents and as a recreational resource and a place wholly different from the dense developments of Elsick and Aberdeen.”

Many objectors also expressed fears that if this development was passed, it would pave the way for more housing in the future.

The North Kincardine and District community council objected to the development.

There was one letter received in support of the application.

In a supporting statement, Bancon wrote: “The development seeks to form a traditional layout around a village green with emphasis on pedestrian and cycle access around the site. We see this as an opportunity to draw on the model of successful villages in Aberdeenshire and move away from the established norm of housing any developments on the peripheral of settlements, offering little in the way of community, sense of place or true sustainability.

“Developing a village from scratch enables the best possible use of layout and new technologies to make the developments as sustainable as possible.”

A council report to the committee states: “The site has a relatively open landscape aspect, visible from roads and other nearby receptors, which is typical of the character of the wider area. It is essential therefore that the proposals do not cause any detriment to the landscape character of the area.

“Such development would only be supported if it is close to the existing population, respects the environment, has good access to public transport and a demonstration is made that there is an economic need that outweighs any adverse environmental impacts.”

The Kincardine and Mearns area committee will give its final recommendation on the application at a meeting on June 7 before the full council rules on the application on June 30.