Area councillors defer Fasque Estate decision

Councillors at this week’s Kincardine and Mearns Area committee were presented with the masterplan for a mixed use development at Fasque House.

After discussing the application, Councillors agreed that the way forward with the application would be to defer for a site visit due to the complex nature of the plans.

The application brought before the committee is for planning permission in principle for the restoration and refurbishment of existing historic buildings, erection of 115 dwellinghouses (Enabling Development), Visitor’s Centre, Cafe and Farm Shop and Roads Associated Infrastructure at Fasque estate, Fettercairn.

The area committee were provided with some background about Fasque in a report which said: “Fasque Estate was started in 1809 and from 1829 until 2007 was in the ownership of the Gladstone family. The current owner purchased the property in February 2008. Fasque House is a category A, group A listed building and is arranged over three floors and has a floor space of approximately 3623sqm.

“The building is included on the Buildings at Risk Register for Scotland and is classed as being in poor condition and being at high risk. The building has been given a cosmetic facelift in recent years however there are larger issues which require to be addressed, the key areas of which are dry rot, wet rot and insect infestation.”

In order to carry out repair work on the building the application for the 115 homes is an enabling development, meaning that the money from the sale of these houses will be used to support the refurbishment of the historical buildings on the site.

As this is applied for as an enabling development, the committee must be satisfied that all other financial options for restoring Fasque house have been exhausted. A report to the committee stated: “A Business Case for the Enabling Development has been submitted, which discusses the Estate, Fasque House, funding and an overview of the proposal. The case is made for the development of 115 dwellings as an enabling development and this is supported by NWP (Scotland) Ltd, Chartered Quantity Surveyors who have prepared detailed costing for the proposal in support of the level of enabling development being requested. These documents advise that all other means of funding have been exhausted.”

A total of 24 representations were received about the plans, with 23 against the development and 1 supporting it.

Those against the development cited a number of concerns relating to the plans including; loss of woodland, road safety, affect of increased traffic on wildlife such as hares, hedgehogs and squirrels, loss of walks, urbanisation, lack of appropriate consultation, affect the setting and integrity of the estate, increased air, light and noise pollution, no bat survey and not in the public interest.

It was explained to Councillors that many of the issues raised by the representations will have to be considered at a sperate time as with the application just being in principle, exact drawings are not yet available and so the impact on areas such as woodland are not yet determined.

Historic Scotland, who were consulted as part of the plans, originally objected to the proposal however the developer moved one of the zones laid out for housing and this then met with approval from Historic Scotland.

Other consultees had no objections to the plans however a number of conditions were suggested should the plans be approved.

In a report to the committee, it was recommended that the Councillors grant planning permission in principle to the plans with the attachment of a number of conditions including the creation of affordable housing.

Councillors decided, due to the scope of the plans, to defer decision in order for a site visit to take place.