Planning chiefs have backed plans to expand a north-east village – despite concerns the roads will not be able to cope with hundreds of more cars.
Bancon Developments want to build more than 500 homes in Mintlaw over the next decade, and have set aside land for a primary school and care home too.
As a result, around 1,600 people could move to the village – adding to the traffic regularly using the A952 Mintlaw to Cortes and A90 Fraserburgh to Aberdeen roads.
Next week, councillors will be asked to approve planning permission in principle.
But Traffic Scotland has raised concerns the development, in the south of the village, will “exacerabate” the congestion and warned the already-busy Toll of Birness would be “significantly affected”.
The Toll of Birness and the whole of the A90 is currently being looked at by Nestrans in an affort to improve safety and improve links from the north-east to Aberdeen. The road is already near capacity due to the development of the Northwoods in Mintlaw, which will create another 100 new homes.
Keen to see development in the area, the council’s director of infrastructure Stephen Archer has backed proposals to cap the number of properties built during any one phase of the development, which should allow for maintenance or upgrades to the road as and when required.
Mr Archer added: “Transport Scotland’s concern is that, due to increased delays on the A952, drivers can be frustrated and tempted to accept smaller gaps in the A90 flow to emerge from the side road, resulting in an increased risk of serious accidents.
“Transport Scotland believe that an upper limit on housing numbers should be put in place before works are required at the junction.
“Such an approach would allow Transport Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council the opportunity to monitor the situation and ensure that safety considerations can be kept to the fore, whilst still enabling development to proceed.”
Last night, Graeme Reay, Bancon’s land director, said the masterplan was at an early stage and that any feedback would be taken on board during the planning stage.
“This is the first stage of the planning process and we’re looking forward to getting into the details and communicating with the public as we go forward,” he said.
“We’re happy to take on board the thoughts of the public and will be working with the council to make sure any concerns are dealt with or allayed as we go forward.”
David Coull, chairman of the village’s community council, said traffic congestion had been an issue for years but described the development as good news for the area.
“It looks like it could be a really good development, to be honest,” he added.
“There’s a lot of community space in it and hopefully it will bring some business into the village for people who actually stay here.
“There has always been the problem of the village itself not being able to cope with the traffic – but it’s been one of those things we’ve had to deal with for years. Hopefully, something will change in the near future.”
Joan Whyte, the group’s secretary, added: “Anything that can bring jobs to the local community has got to be a good thing.”
Councillors will discuss the plans on Tuesday.