Major homes plan denied

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LOCAL councillors have agreed with recommendations made by Aberdeenshire Council’s planning service and rejected plans for 864 new houses at the Uryside development on the outskirts of Inverurie.

However they did agree that 207 homes proposed by Malcolm Allan Housebuilders as part of their Portstown Development at Uryside were acceptable, but deferred permission subject to further negotiations over affordable housing and subject to conditions that included the completion of the new Northern Link Road.

Four planning applications totalling a further 1,071 houses and four commercial units at Uryside, Inverurie were brought before the Garioch Area Committee on Tuesday thi week.

Individually the applications were for Phase 2 of the Uryside Development by Barratt East Scotland Ltd, which would see 611 new houses constructed, and Phases 1, 2 and 3 of the Portstown Development at Uryside by Malcolm Allan Housebuilders. Of the four only Phase 1 and Phase 3 at Portstown were recommended for approval by the Council’s Planning and Environmental Service.

As the applications constituted a Major Development and a departure from the Development Plan it was required to be considered by the Garioch Area Committee prior to being referred to the Full Council later this month.

Commenting on the proposals Inverurie and District Councillor Bryan Stuart said that he had some sympathy with the developers but agreed that the planning services recommendations were correct.

East Garioch Councillor Martin Ford also agreed that the recommendation should be backed by the Garioch Area Committee.

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saying that they could not go against the Local Development Plan and must follow the proper democratic process, and to do anything else would undermine the public confidence in the planning procedures.

The proposed Phase 2 of the Uryside development would comprise of 34 six bedroom houses; 22 five bedroom houses; 278 four bedroom houses; 47 three bedroom houses; 6 four bedroom terraced houses; 132 three bedroom terraced houses and 92 two bedroom terraced houses.

Phase 1 of the Portstown Development would see the construction of 167 houses, Phase 2 would see 253 houses and four commercial units, and Phase 3 would see the erection of 40 houses.

Phase 2 at Uryside had generated two letters of representation, from the same household, objecting to the proposal for reasons including; that it breaches the natural boundary of Inverurie, that it would increase traffic congestion in the Town Centre and on Souterford Road, that surface water run off would affect the existing houses on lower ground, pressure on local community facilities and that the Planning Service “are against sporadic development in the countryside comprising one house on its own, yet is happy to destroy a rural area with hundreds of houses.”

Phase 1 at Portstown generated one letter of representation which said that there was no indication for a school within this applications boundary, and Phase 2 generated one letter of representation stating that the application was at odds with the allocation of employment land agreed in the Aberdeenshire Local Plan, that it would cause light pollution, that no flood risk assessment had taken place upstream of the Lochter Burn and that the development would increase the risk of flooding to properties further upstream.

The committee were informed that negotiations were on-going with all developers included in the Uryside development regarding Planning Gain, which includes the provision of affordable housing, a proposed new primary school, the link road between the Oldmeldrum and Rothienorman roads and the upgrading of Howford Bridge resulted in a revised planning gain package being submitted in May. Due to the “required mitigation indicated within the Transport Assessment” carried out by the Council, savings would have to be found within contributions to the proposed school, the Howford Bridge and the level of affordable housing provided on all four sites. This would see 110 affordable housing units are proposed.

Aberdeenshire’s Education Learning and Leisure have estimated that the new school would have to provide space for 475 pupils.

The developers have stated that in order to finance the Northern Link Road, the new primary school, the improvements to the Howeford Bridge and the Rothienorman Road and other transportation improvements, that approximately 1100 housing units will need to be built on the Uryside Portstown development. Along with the three development phases proposed by Malcolm Allan Housebuilder the outstanding applications comprise 1071 units.

The proposed development also covers an area significantly larger than the area allocated for future housing in the Aberdeenshire Local Plan, which was allocated for 465 units. Planning and Environmental Service are not convinced that an extra 146 units are required to make the development viable, as is claimed by the developer. The committee were also informed that additional housing at this site would cause implications for other proposed housing sites and that both the additional land and the additional 146 houses are contrary to the existing development plan policies.

An initial bat survey found evidence of bats with nearby Boynds Farmstead. A further detailed survey would be required to be carried out as it is uncertain that the site would meet the requirements of a European Protected Species license. An updated badger survey would also be required.

The Committee were also informed that one of the reasons that the Uryside development was initially agreed was the formation of Riverside Park on the floodplain land around the Ury. At this time the Council still does not have ownership of the Riverside Park area.

Three of the applications were recommended for refusal due a significant part of the site lying outwith the defined settlement of Inverurie; and that they were contrary to the structure plan.

Phase’s 1 and 2 of the Portstown Development were recommended that the authority to grant full planning permission be delegated to the Head of Planning and Building Standard subject to conditions which included the satisfactory conclusion of negotiations with the developer over contributions and the provision of affordable housing, and the completion of the Northern Link Road.

The committee unanimously agreed to inform the Full Council that they supported the recommendations put forward by the Planning and Environmental Service.