Lobby over homes approval

Barratt's plans for the Newtonhill site prompted hundreds of objections
Barratt's plans for the Newtonhill site prompted hundreds of objections

Angry villagers have urged Scotland’s housing minister to intervene over a controversial housing development at Newtonhill.

Earlier this year, a Scottish Government reporter overturned Aberdeenshire Council’s refusal of a Barratt North Scotland project to build 121 homes in the area.

Letters have been sent to housing minister Kevin Stewart

Letters have been sent to housing minister Kevin Stewart

The decision provoked fury among residents who had campaigned strongly against the development, which had prompted hundreds of objections.

Now 140 residents of the village, along with nearby Chapelton of Elsick and Muchalls, have written to housing minister and Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart demanding answers.

The submissions, delivered on the last day of a six-week appeal window, asked Mr Stewart to “call in” the government reporter’s papers to review the decision.

Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee turned down Barratt’s plans last November, but an appeal by the housebuilder was upheld in April.

North East Region MSP Liam Kerr, who has been in contact with community leaders following the decision, described it as a “planning injustice”.

He said: “The SNP government’s tack on this will be very familiar to dozens of towns and villages across Scotland, where people are concerned about local amenities such as GP staffing and school overcrowding, as well as wider issues such as protecting our environment and the climate crisis.

“They talk about engaged communities and local democracy, but have repeatedly let those very communities down.

“Many of the residents of Newtonhill, Muchalls and Chapelton are kicking back at what they feel is a great planning injustice.”

In April, reporter Robert Maslin ruled there was “no material consideration” which could justify Aberdeenshire Council’s refusal of planning permission, despite the 650 objections received locally.

He said he was “minded to allow the appeal” and grant permission, subject to a raft of planning conditions.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said this week: “Scottish Ministers are committed to seeing the right developments in the right place.

“The reporter fully considered all the evidence submitted by the planning authority, the appellant and other parties who made representations in relation to the proposed development.

“A notice of intention has been issued indicating the reporter is minded to grant planning permission subject to a suitable legal agreement being reached to cover financial contributions towards community facilities, sports and recreation facilities, health facilities and affordable housing.”

The Barratt development, planned for a site to the south of the village, features a blend of cottage flats, semi-detached, terraced and detached properties.