Fears of a “backdoor” planning application by Barratts

SIR,

Re – Proposed developments at Feathers & Nether Toucks, Stonehaven (also known as “Mill of Forest Development” by Barratts)

I visited St Bridget’s Hall in Stonehaven last Saturday for a so-called “pre-application consultation event”, run by Halliday Fraser Munro on behalf of developers Barratts.

Despite the fact that the draft Development Plan for the area that the Council agreed last March specifically excluded development for the site in question, it seems that Barratts are now preparing to submit a formal planning application for the site.

The Development Plan itself (updated after the March meetings) has not yet been formally adopted and I understand that this should happen next year. What Barratts seem to be doing at this time is what I would regard as a “back-door” application – trying to put more pressure on local planners and councillors (and presumably Edinburgh if they don’t get their way) in advance of the formal adoption of the new local plan.

I can understand that the planning process does not stop when a new development plan is under consideration – but surely a development potentially as significant as this one cannot be properly considered until the current development plan process is complete.

Residents and interested parties should be aware that the plan for the site could ultimately be for a total of over 200 acres and some 1500 plus houses for this site – about 1/3 of the size of Stonehaven at this time. Not so much a natural extension of Stonehaven but a new town stuck on the side of it, putting yet further pressure on Stonehaven’s creaking facilities, including schools (notably the already full Mackie Academy) plus medical, dental, leisure, etc.

No one should be against suitable managed development of the town – provided it is on a modest level (not a 35% increase) and in the appropriate areas – probably within the existing A90 bypass and provided that it does not adversely affect the existing skyline of the town. But this is what the Local Development Plan was for – and we should strongly resist any cynical attempt by developers and their agents to find ways to work round the due process.

Yours etc.,

Name and address supplied