Much-contested plans for 80 homes in an Aberdeen suburb could be given an initial go ahead today.
City councillors are recommended to show a willingness to approve the outline plans for the land near North Deeside Road in Milltimber.
Planning officials made the recommendation despite more than 800 objections from residents, who have even hired a planning consultancy to aid their fight.
Bancon Homes and William Guild’s Managers originally sought to build 100 homes, with 21,500 sq ft of retail space, on the site – but have agreed to scale back plans to 80 units, and around 13,200 sq ft for retail.
A quarter of the homes on the site, near Milltimber Farm Livery Stables and the Deeside Way, would be marketed as affordable.
But the proposed land is contentious.
While it is earmarked for up to 60 homes – less than the planned 80 – in the 2017 Local Development Plan (LDP), it will be designated protected green belt in 2022.
In March, a meeting of full council rubber-stamped the proposed LDP 2020, which will come into force in two years after further consultation.
A report prepared for councillors ahead of today’s meeting reads: “Although the residential element of the proposal is greater in terms of number of units than the figure indicated in the 2017 LDP, it is considered that the applicants have adequately demonstrated that a maximum of 80 could be accommodated.
“The proposed LDP, although described as the ‘settled view of the council’ following the agreement on its content in March, remains a ‘draft’ document that cannot be used as the sole basis for determining a planning application.
“The current application must be considered in the context of the 2017 LDP which, as the adopted plan, has primacy over the proposed plan in terms of the weight to be given it as a material consideration.
“In this instance, there are no material planning considerations that would warrant refusal of planning permission.”
The Cults, Bieldside and Milltimber Community Council objected, claiming the economic downturn in Aberdeen – and the apparent lack of need for executive housing – should also be taken into account.
If councillors award the planning permission in principle, the developer would have to sign up to a contract to pay almost £1.5 million to expand schools, healthcare and community facilities nearby and upgrade pedestrian and cycling access.
Both Milltimber School and Cults Academy, which children living there would be zoned for, are approaching full capacity.
Nearly £1.2m of the developer contribution would cover the cost of a replacement primary school in the leafy suburb, which is currently being built.