Newtonhill homes set to go ahead

Barratt wants to build the homes on a site to the south of the village
Barratt wants to build the homes on a site to the south of the village

The Scottish Government has upheld an appeal by Barratt Homes for the controversial creation of 121 homes at Newtonhill.

Reporter Robert Maslin said there was “no material consideration” which could justify Aberdeenshire Council’s refusal of planning permission, despite the 650 objections received locally.

He said he was “minded to allow the appeal” and grant permission subject to a raft of planning conditions.

Mr Maslin has now deferred full determination of the appeal for three months to enable planning obligations to be agreed between the developer and the local authority.

The obligations will secure payments towards the cost of facilities for community, sports and recreation and health purposes and must also guarantee provision of affordable housing.

Barratt appealed after Kincardine and Mearns area committee rejected plans last December for the mix of cottage flats, semi-detached, terraced and detached properties.

The Reporter’s decision has disappointed local politicians.

Councillor Ian Mollison said many people would be “disillusioned” by the outcome and called for a shake-up of the decision-making process.

He went on: “I am disappointed by the outcome and thought that a strong case had been made.

“However the Scottish Government Reporter has taken a different view, and has not been convinced by the arguments put forward.”

Councillor Colin Pike added: “This was always going to be a difficult and emotive decision balancing the demands of recognising the Local Development Plan and the wishes of the local community.

“The ward councillors were unanimous in opposing this application and I believe we were competent in our reasons for opposing it.”  

Councillor Alison Evison said: “This planning application was rigorously scrutinised by individual councillors at committee and several of us sought additional information from officers.

“A conclusion was reached which was not upheld in the appeal. I have seen that many members of the community are both disappointed and angered by the appeal decision, but we need now to move forward and work together to strengthen further all that is good and vibrant in the community of Newtonhill.”

Newtonhill, Muchalls and Cammachmore Community Councill chairman Michael Morgan said many residents have “expressed outrage” at the decision.

He added: “The community council has consistently backed residents in their fight against the planning application and also during the appeal to Scottish Ministers.

“Local residents realise the harm that this development will do to the countryside, the community and the infrastructure.

“The community council believe that impact will inevitably lead to distress and misery for many existing residents, especially those with children.”

David Palmer, managing director for Barratt North Scotland, said the company was “very pleased” that the appeal had been upheld.

He added: This approval will allow us to progress our plans which will provide a range of quality new homes for sale and will address local demand for affordable housing. It will also secure additional investment and employment in the local area.”