No support for major Netherley development

PLANS for a major development on land next to Lairhillock Primary School in Netherley were unanimously panned by councillors this week.

Bancon Developments Ltd want to build a mixed use development, including 70 houses, five commercial units and a children’s nursery on the site, but the area is not zoned for housing in either the existing or upcoming local development plan.

The application will be referred to full council before a decision can be made, as it is significantly contrary to the development plan, but members of the Kincardine and Mearns area committee were asked for their views on Tuesday.

Members unanimously agreed to put the application forward to full council with the recommendation that it be refused, because it does not comply with existing policies.

Councillors had already attended a pre-determination hearing on May 23 in Lairhillock School. This gave members the opportunity to hear the Planning Service’s interpretation of the main issues in the determination of the application as well as hearing from the applicant, and North Kincardine Rural Community Council and other representatives.

North Kincardine Councillor Carl Nelson said: “This application is against policy. There are 60 houses due to be built at Newtonhill, plus 80 more in the new local plan. They are still building houses at Portlethen, so there is no shortage of houses.”

Cllr Nelson also expressed concern over a shortage of available primary school places for a new community. He added: “I really think it is the wrong place for this development. Everything is wrong in my view, and I would support a rejection.”

Mearns Councillor George Carr said: “There is a lot of merit in the design and layout of this application but we can’t get away from the fact that it is outwith the local plan.

“If we grant this it opens the doors wide open for people to put in applications anywhere. It’s got a lot of merit, but put it in a different place. It is quite clear in my mind, we can’t go against the local plan.”

28 letters of representation were received for the application, 27 of which were against the development. Objections included worries that it was not allocated within the current or proposed local development plan and so may set an unwelcome precedent in the development plan process, and concerns over the urbanisation of the countryside.

Other concerns suggested that the inadequacy of the local and regional road network and infrastructure would generate private car use.

The one letter of support said that the area is in need of amenities, and that the rural area surrounding Stonehaven was in need of more houses.