Developer considering further appeal

A developer is taking legal advice after Scottish ministers upheld a rejection by Aberdeenshire Council over a development in Netherley.

In July a proposal by Bancon developments to build 70 homes, five commercial units and a children’s nursery at Lairhillock were refused by the local authority. The plan was considered to be premature in terms of the Council’s local development plan. The decision by the local authority followed refusal by the Kincardine and Mearns area committee in June. Members agreed to put the application forward to full Council with the recommendation to refuse.

Councillors expressed their concerns that allowing the go-ahead of a proposal which is out with the local plan could cause other developers to put forward proposals which are against the local plan.

They also felt that with a number of other housing developments being developed, at Newtonhill and Portlethen, there is no demand for more homes in the area. A number of letters of representation, over 20, were also received, many of which expressed concern over the urbanisation of the countryside.

Following the proposals rejection by the local authority, it was discussed by Scottish ministers who upheld the rejection of the proposal.

In a government report the scheme was described as impressive and was said to show “unusual quality and thoroughness” in its design.

However the report also stated: “Inevitably the clear conflict with structure plan must support the planning authority’s view, that approval before the completion of the local plan development process would be premature.”

Bancon developments is now seeking legal advice and is considering a further appeal. Director at Bancon developments, Harry McNab said: “Bancon is extremely disappointed that Scottish Ministers have refused outline planning permission for what was admitted to be ‘a well considered proposal’, to provide a mix of affordable and mainstream housing allied to small-scale commercial opportunities, around the established community core and social facilities at Lairhillock.

“It appears to us that Scottish Ministers have failed to appreciate the very pressing nature of the land supply shortage in the north east, and the decision will be particularly frustrating for those desperate for affordable housing or anxious to get their foot on the first rung of the housing ladder.

We will be considering the decision with our legal team and decide whether any further appeal is justified.”