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Change to regulation could allow for Mintlaw’s expansion

North Woods, Mintlaw
North Woods, Mintlaw

Aberdeenshire Council is pushing to change “out of date” regulations that would allow housebuilders in a north-east village to create more “economic” developments.

Mintlaw’s current development plan has been deemed restrictive by the local authority, which wants to bring in new guidelines to provide a “degree of flexibility” for future work at its North Woods site.

At present, each new proposal as part of the wider vision for the project must contain detached, semi-detached, terraced, flatted properties, and affordable housing.

But the amendment – if approved – would allow the house types to be based on economic factors at the time of construction.

The request for change comes as developer Colaren progresses with its masterplan to build new homes in the village.

The agreed plan for Mintlaw’s North Woods site sets out the expansion of the Buchan village up to 2023 and could create up to 600 new homes and facilities for older people.

Stephen Archer, Aberdeenshire Council’s head of infrastructure services, said the changes would make the plan less prescriptive while still allowing the authority’s goals to be achieved.

He added that Colaren had branded the current regulations “out of date”.

Buchan councillors will discuss the proposal at Tuesday’s area committee meeting.

Mr Archer said: “Over the past year, the volume of applications submitted has increased, with many recommended for refusal based on the agreed masterplan.

“The developer considers that the masterplan is out of date and does not reflect the current economic circumstances.

“The proposed alterations to the agreed masterplan seek to add more flexibility and allow a more fluid response to market changes for future applications, whilst continuing to accord with an agreed document.”

Local councillors have previously backed proposals to increase the size of the north-east’s largest village and approved permission for 86 properties two years ago.

Councillor for the area Jim Ingram said that communities could be killed off if developments were allowed to collapse.

“Communities have got to grow otherwise they can dwindle and die,” he said.

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