Council apologises over planning error

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Aberdeenshire Council has apologised after an error in the processing of two planning applications for new affordable housing developments at Stonehaven.

The ‘Mackie Village’ housing plans tabled by Kirkwood Homes Ltd at Ury Estates – branded by one councillor as “carmageddon” – were given delegated grant approval by the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC) in January.

The 91 new homes – comprising 33 houses and 58 flats – will form part of a wider golf course and hotel development just off the A90.

But the council’s monitoring officer found that the original decision could not be implemented as the committee was required to take into account the provision and implementation of a public transport strategy before making a final determination of the application.

Apologising to a special meeting of the ISC committee, director Stephen Archer said: “Are we a perfect service, no. But we do the majority of things very well and this is the first time this error has occurred.

“We have put a process in place to ensure we tick all the boxes before we move on into the future.”

Roads development manager Peter McCallum then explained that the inclusion of the strategy was a “competent condition” and would ensure that there was a practical bus service or other option in place for residents travelling to and from Stonehaven to get to the shops, schools and employment.

Some councillors were concerned that the bus service – which will be subsidised in the initial stages by the developer – would be difficult to control. But officers stressed that none of the planned houses can be occupied until such time as a developer-subsidised public transport service is fully agreed and in-situ.

Formartine councillor Paul Johnston – seconded by Peterhead councillor Stephen Smith – put forward a motion that the application be refused and that revised layout and designs be resubmitted by Kirkwood Homes.

But the application was approved by 12 votes to two and will also include a further condition relating to enhanced landscaping alongside the acoustic fence and bund.