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Rathen plans back on table as coucillors reject six-house bid

The land where the homes will be built.
The land where the homes will be built.

Plans to build new homes in a north-east village were resubmitted to the local authority on the same day they were blocked by councillors, it has been revealed.

Councillors on the Banff and Buchan Area Committee had earlier this week rejected the plans from Colaren Homes Ltd to build six houses to the north-west of Rathen and branded them “premature”.

Now, local residents have been left baffled after discovering a near identical application online on Wednesday.

The new application features the same six houses as previously applied for, but will include the condition that work does not commence before January 1, 2017, when the land is scheduled to be released for the purpose of housing as part of Aberdeenshire Council’s local development plan.

Speaking against the plans at committee last Tuesday, ward councillor Charles Buchan said: “I don’t think that the case has been made that there is some sort of importance that we start this project. There is no need to build these houses before 2017 and if they are even needed at all.”

He additionally raised concerns about the impact the houses would have on the local primary school’s pupil numbers, saying that the school was already at capacity.

Last night, local resident Tena Ross, who objected to the original plans, said: “I’m shocked and dismayed that Colaren have reapplied for permission after being refused by the area committee.

“This developer seems intent on getting into Rathen as soon as possible and I, personally, feel this will just be the start of a huge development in our village.”

A spokesman for Baxter Design, Colaren’s agents for the application, explained the new proposal would simply safeguard the land.

He said: “We thought that with resubmission we could get approval, hopefully, for the site on the condition that we can’t develop it until January 1, 2017. It would secure the planning approval for the site and would allow the contractor to get his other permissions in place.”

Rathen’s community council had also objected to the first application. Secretary Margaret Gault said they would first have to discuss the new bid before publicly commenting.

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