Plans for a major new housing development at a north-east village have been thrown out by councillors amid concerns over impact on local schools.
Aberdeenshire Council’s planning officers had backed Barratt North Scotland’s proposals for 121 new homes at Newtonhill.
However, at a meeting of the authority’s Kincardine and Mearns area committee yesterday, councillors decided there were too many negative aspects in the proposals and rejected them.
These included the impact on local schools, road access, the local landscape and the general quality of life of the village.
The scheme – which would consist of 109 houses and 12 flats, with 30 of the properties categorised as affordable – led to a groundswell of protest from the local community, with 651 letters of objection submitted to the council.
At a previous committee meeting, Newtonhill, Muchalls and Cammachmore community council vice-chairwoman Alison Daniels said the application offered the village “nothing but an extra burden on schools, childcare, after-school provision and health services.”
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At yesterday’s committee meeting, councillor Ian Mollison said: “I’m not sure this is the right development at the right place at the right time.
“If it was 70 houses, I could live with that, but on balance I’m not convinced 121 homes is the correct application at the correct time.
“Once Chapelton has its primary school, that might be the right time.”
Craig Clement, from the authority’s education department, claimed the school – which has a roll of about 330 pupils – could accommodate as many as 459 children.
However the committee was sceptical of the impact on both the local primary and Portlethen Academy.
Councillor Colin Pike, Mearns ward, said: “I don’t think increasing the size of the village by 10% is this council’s objective.
“Newtonhill has had to absorb housing as the community has grown, but we’re really pushing the boundaries here and I’m not comfortable with it.”
While the applicant, Barratt North Scotland, said the development was sensitively designed and met local needs, councillors voted by eight to two to reject the plans.
David Palmer, managing director for Barratt North Scotland, said the council’s decision was disappointing given the plans conformed to a masterplan which had been approved by the same committee earlier this year.
He said: “We strongly believe that our proposal will benefit the area by providing much needed quality homes for sale and affordable rent, delivered as part of the existing local development plan vision. Clearly, we need to consider our options following today’s decision including the possibility of appeal.”
Barratt has the right to appeal the decision.