Councillors give Stonehaven council houses the go-ahead

AN APPLICATION for council housing was this week approved by councillors.

Members of the Kincardine and Mearns area committee voted to approve a delegated grant for the two houses and four flats, which will be built near to the “care village” which was given approval in November.

The site, which is to the east of 47 Arduthie Gardens and adjacent to Farrochie Burn, raised concerns among members of the public and Stonehaven and District community council.

14 letters of representation were lodged with Aberdeenshire Council, one of which contained a petition with 19 names on it, which focussed on the issue of parking spaces, flood risk, the loss of green space and the overdevelopment of the site. The community council objected on the basis of flodding concerns and traffic congestion among others.

Councillors had put off making a decision on the housing in December, choosing to go on a site visit prior to their final decision being made this week.

Councillor Mike Sullivan criticised the design of the new housing, saying that it was “an architectural disgrace. It will be a blot on the landscape and I cannot support this application.” Cllr Sullivan moved to refuse and was backed by Councillor Wendy Agnew on the grounds of a lack of architectural merit, scale massing and height, as well as the lack of a buffer strip with the Farrochie Burnand a risk of flooding.

But Councillor Peter Bellarby disagreed, and referred to a report put before a committee to say that SEPA are satisfied that there will not be a significant increase in the risk of flooding. The report also mentions that the new car parking and access arrangements are acceptable to council policy. Cllr Bellarby added: “We cannot expect an architectural gem on this site. We are deciding a planning application, not an architectural design competition.”

Councillor Graeme Clark added that there is a “real need” for more social housing in Stonehaven, and this needed to be taken into consideration.

Councillor George Carr noted that he was sad to see another bit of open space in Stonehaven being lost, adding that towns such as Montrose had a much more “open” feel. He added: “Previous generations have lacked foresight in planning this town.” However, he no objection to the application and voted in it’s favour.

The application was passed with seven votes to three.