Deadline past for opinions on Toucks development

TIME has run out for local people to make their feelings known about plans for a controversial new development in Stonehaven.

The deadline for lodging letters of representation about the proposed £250 million housing and business development at Toucks closes today (December 23). At the time of going to press 21 letters had so far been lodged.

The plans, which have been submitted by developers Barratt East Scotland and Drum Property Group, seeking outline planning permission, include proposals for 1500 houses, a new supermarket, school, hotel and business park.

Public objections range from the loss of green space and the location of the proposal to the over-development of the town.

One resident stated: “This application is yet another abuse of the countryside around our over extended town. Each day there is less and less open country for pleasure and agricultural purposes. Each day there are applications to build more and more houses. This has got to stop.”

Another wrote: “It is a development which would be to the detriment of Stonehaven, and would spoil a beautiful rural area close to the town. Stonehaven has no need of the development, and there are other locations closer to Aberdeen which are more appropriate for large-scale development.

“The proposed development is about 35% of the current size of Stonehaven, and a development of this size would swamp the town, its services (including medical and dental), its facilities and also especially its schools.

“Stonehaven’s secondary school, Mackie Academy is already at 100% capacity and a new school has been estimated to cost in the region of £50 million. Who will pay for such new facilities?”

Other residents pointed out the fact that the proposed local plan, which is set to be formally adopted next year, rejected any such large-scale development in the town and set a limit of 430 homes for Stonehaven.

At the December meeting of the Stonehaven and District Community Council members agreed that they were against the proposal in principle. However, the group have not yet lodged a formal letter of objection with Aberdeenshire Council and instead submitted a “holding” letter, which stated: “We voted that the community council stands by the local development plan and opposes any development outwith that plan.

“However we have received a request from the developer to make a presentation to us, to which we have agreed, and we intend to arrange it for our next meeting on January 11.

“The community council felt it would be convenient and proper if our full consultation response to the above application was made after we have heard what the developers have to say.”

The community council will therefore lodge that response in mid-January and have urged residents to come along to the meeting on January 11 to hear what the developers have to say about the proposals.