Construction on 167 affordable homes in a coastal Aberdeen suburb will begin this month.
Stewart Milne Homes is preparing to build the properties for social rent on land overlooking the North Sea beside Falkland Avenue in Cove Bay, locally referred to as Stationfields.
The firm says the homes will help to meet the “significant demand” in the city, but the scheme has sparked anger from nearby residents.
More than 100 objections were lodged by locals, urging council officers not to green-light the plans over concerns including overdevelopment and the impact on school spaces.
Others were worried more homes were being proposed for the site than allowed for in the local development plan, and that they would appear “alien” to their surroundings.
Reasons for approval
Council officers addressed some of these fears in a 17-page document granting planning permission for the proposals.
They said the move from 150 allocated homes to 167 is not significant enough to “constitute a departure” from the previously laid plans.
It has also been determined the development will provide an “adequate and appropriate” level of open space, without impacting wildlife or the popular nearby coastal path.
The council document says the scheme “takes into account, but does not replicate” the character of surrounding houses, and will not affect the nearby Cove Bay conservation area.
A total of 18 conditions for the scheme have also been stipulated, which Stewart Milne must now meet.
These include the provision of full-fibre broadband, electric vehicle charging points and “trespass-proof” fences along the boundary with the Aberdeen-Dundee railway line.
Once the houses have been built by Stewart Milne, they will be handed over to Hillcrest Homes for social rent.
Development is ‘much-needed’
Richard Fawcus, the land director for Stewart Milne Homes, said: “This development is the outcome of a partnership approach, working closely with Aberdeen City Council, the Scottish Government and Hillcrest to provide much-needed affordable housing in this popular part of the city.
“These homes will ensure that the many people who wish to remain in Cove will now have the opportunity to do so.
“We’ve a strong working relationship with Hillcrest, having recently completed homes for them at Countesswells, Kingswells and Abbotswell Road.
“On completion of these homes at Falkland Avenue, we will have delivered over 550 homes in Aberdeen with Hillcrest since Autumn 2018.
“These developments not only provide affordable housing, to meet the significant demand in Aberdeen, but also create and safeguard construction jobs.”
Fiona Morrison, Hillcrest deputy chief executive, said: “We are delighted to be bringing much needed social and mid-market rent homes to Cove in partnership with Stewart Milne Homes, Aberdeen City Council and the Scottish Government.
“These will be more than just new affordable properties for the area – they will be homes that people with a range of needs can thrive and take pride in.”
While not referenced in the planning documents, it has been hoped that the land at Stationfields could also house a new train station for Cove.
It is one of several potential sites which have been identified to the south of Aberdeen, with others including Altens and Newtonhill.
Last year regional transport body Nestrans launched an £80,000 study to consider whether the proposals could be feasible.