Developers have unveiled plans for a historic transformation of Moray’s biggest town.
Springfield Properties in Elgin has furnished the local authority with a masterplan to create 2,500 homes towards the south of the town.
Details of the major scheme have been revealed for the first time and will go before the council’s planning committee next week.
The 506-acre development will be divided into three separate village formations, stretching from the Linkwood area on the east across the A941 Rothes road to the edge of Elgin Golf Club.
Springfield chairman Sandy Adam confirmed that an eagerly-awaited multi-million-pound sports centre would be among the first buildings created under the scheme.
A new primary school, designed to tackle a looming capacity crisis at some of the town’s busier establishments, is also expected to begin construction next year.
And another school has been included in the framework to cater for the growing number of families moving to the area as the sprawling development grows.
Mr Adam said: “Over the last two decades, Springfield has been involved in the southern expansion of Elgin, building nearly 1,000 houses as well as providing a community hub at Southfield and much-improved road infrastructure.
“The new masterplan signals growth of Elgin to the south as originally planed by Moray Council. As well as providing affordable and private housing, phase one will include the Moray Sports Centre.
“We hope that, with the council’s approval, we can start work on site in 2017.”
Developers envisage the central settlement in the Linkwood area as being the “main village”, which will include the sports centre to the west of Linkwood Road.
Another new settlement, Easter Linkwood, will be nestled behind the Barmuckity Meadows and will feature a new cemetery to the east of Linkwood Road.
It will be “based upon traditional Scottish villages” with a landscaped square aiming to serve as the heart of the community, with space for shops on the ground floor of every building.
The Wester Linkwood village will be sited to the west of the A941 road, and it’s anticipated this will feature the smallest number of dwellings.
It will include space for the second primary school which is expected to be created within the community.
The masterplan details a catalogue of road improvements vital to the development, including an access road, running eastwards from the A941 to the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness route.
Phase one is expected to be completed between 2017 and 2030, with high-priority works like the new primary school and sports centre slated to open in 2018.
Other future phases have been set approximate target dates of up to 2045.
The local authority’s planning committee will meet next week to vote on whether to progress the ambitious proposal.
Officers have recommended that members endorse Springfield’s masterplan for the area and arrange public consultation events.
Head of development services, Jim Grant, has compiled a report for members which describes the project as a “significant long-term expansion”.
Last night, Elgin City South councillor Graham Leadbitter welcomed the scheme.
He said: “This is a plan which looks about a quarter of a century ahead, and will bring significant economic benefit to Elgin and Moray.
“This is a huge proposal, and people should bear in mind that it is one that will take 30 years to become a reality.
“The masterplan is there as guidance, but there is no way to know what economic and technological changes could shape it over that time.”