Go ahead for five houses on former carvan site

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PLANNING permission in principle has been granted for the erection of five houses and associated amenity space at Upper Cottown, Kintore by members of the Garioch Area Committee.

The application from Kevin McDonald was subject to a recent site visit by councillors after it was deferred at their previous meeting on May 31.

The development will see five houses built on the site of the former Cottown Caravan Park, although caravans have not occupied the site for some years.

In that time the condition of the site has deteriorated with caravans becoming derelict and instances of fly-tipping being reported.

The site was cleared in 2008 following a Notice being issued by Aberdeenshire Council. Some 14 letters of representation were received supporting the application for reasons including that the site is currently an eyesore and derelict, that the proposed development would tidy the site, that there is a high demand for housing on the outskirts of Kintore, and that there would be less traffic from five houses as opposed to 12 caravans.

Area planning officer Darren Ross told members that the planning service had received a report from the council’s education, learning and leisure department confirming that 12 caravans that could still be legally situated on the site would result in a higher estimated number of children looking to attend Kintore Primary School than five houses. Kintore Primary School is now over capacity and further housing applications have been suspended in the Kintore area until this is addressed.

Commenting on the proposals, West Garioch Councillor, Hazel Al-Kowarri said that she had lived in Kemnay for 23 years, and in that time she had seen the site, which lies between Kemnay and Kintore, in both “good times and in bad times”.

She added that recently the condition of the site had been “absolutely awful” noting that a burnt out caravan in which someone was tragically killed, had sat on site for a very long time until the council intervened. She said: “Personally I would not like to see caravans return to the site, and although I share the concerns regarding Kintore Primary, I would move to recommend the proposals”.

She was seconded by fellow West Garioch Councillor Sheena Lonchay.

East Garioch Councillor Fergus Hood said that he agreed with his fellow councillors that the site needed to be cleaned up but he was not convinced about the figures regarding school age children.

He noted that Kintore Primary was built with a capacity of 450 and currently had around 650 pupils.

He expressed willingness to support the application if the school catchment area could be changed so that the new site lay in the zone for Kemnay Primary, but was told that this was not a planning matter and outwith the control of the committee.

Fellow East Garioch Councillor Martin Ford said that he didn’t think the committee should just accept the recommendations.

He said it was “not sound planning policy just give permission for the houses in order to tidy up the site”.

He also noted that the committee had refused planning applications in the Kintore area due to lack of space in the school and approving the application may set an unwanted precedent. He proposed an amendment to refuse the application which was seconded by Councillor Hood.

The committee voted 8-2 to accept the recommendation that the committee support the application and be referred to the Infrastructure Services Committee for determination, subject to conditions.