Ellon residents have been given the first glimpse of plans for a major housing development on the outskirts of the town.
Scotia Homes held a public consultation last Thursday on proposals for a 980-home scheme at Cromleybank.
Company bosses were delighted by the turn-out of local people to the display of plans at the New Inn Hotel.
A further two consultations are expected to be held in due course.
Scotia have described the project - next to the new Ellon Academy site - as a “neighbourhood extension”.
The company’s strategic land and commercial director Derrick Thomson said: “Key to our proposals are a site for a new primary school, community house, new sewage works and a southern bypass.”
Scotia’s proposals were included in the local development plan in 2012 and it was originally suggested that another bridge should be constructed to alleviate the town’s traffic problems.
Mr Thomson stressed their project was not intended to harm the town centre in any way and they regarded the bypass option - favoured following subsequent transport assessments - as providing a better solution to Ellon’s long-term traffic requirements.
He added that Scotia hoped to have a planning application tabled with Aberdeenshire Council by spring of next year and the first phase of homes could potentially be built at Cromleybank by late 2016.
Mr Thomson said the 980-house development would be constructed over a 12-year period.
He added: “It may sound a large number but we are talking about 70-100 homes being built each year, so it will be spread out over several years.”
Ellon Community Council have welcomed the publication of the proposals for the development at Cromleybank.
Chairman Sandy McDougall said: “We will consider detailed planning applications as they are published over the next few years. “We wish to see the new academy connected to the town by sympathetic housing, leisure and retail development and will evaluate proposals to alleviate the pressure of increased traffic through the town centre.
“We also believe that housing development should be accompanied by infrastructure such as schools and health facilities and look to NHS Grampian and the Education Department to come forward with proposals to deal with the population increase.”