Plans to build dozens of houses on the site of a former north-east secondary school have been approved by councillors.
Proposals for 40 affordable homes at the old Ellon Academy site were given the go-ahead by Aberdeenshire Council’s Formartine area committee, on the proviso that road safety concerns be addressed.
Proposals for the development, consisting of a mixture of 24 one and two-bedroom flats and 16 three and four-bed houses, received a number of objections from members of the public who cited issues such as loss of green space and the over-provision of housing.
Councillors yesterday shared further concerns overs traffic management around the site, the proximity of some of the houses on the southern edge of the site to Schoolhill, as well as the loss of some trees.
In his report to councillors, planning officer Rory Hume addressed those issues, but failed to compromise, however, on calls for the retention of a pedestrian crossing on Golf Road.
He instead offered to include four new dropped-kerb crossings on Golf Road, west of School Hill, and two at the bottom of site.
Ellon councillor Isobel Davidson said she was “generally happy” with the plans and commended the scheme’s layout and “traditional” street front style.
“I don’t have a particular issue with trees being removed to allow this to be better integrated with the town,” she added.
“But I do have a big problem with the complete removal of the pedestrian crossing. That’s a very bad move.”
A motion to refuse the plans was put forward by town councillor Anouk Kloppert.
“It is with great hesitation that I do this, but we need to make more efforts, as a council, to keep to our environmental, climate change, travel policies,” she said.
“I don’t find it acceptable to remove the green space in this part of the development.”
Her counterpart Gillian Owen supported that call, adding: “Dropped kerbs do not have the same safety status as crossings on a road and I find it really difficult to understand that a section of open space with tress that have been there for many many years, and enjoyed by everyone in and around Ellon, can be removed.”
Proposing the committee approve the plans but “with a caveat that we should look again at the pedestrian crossing”, committee chairwoman Ms Davidson found support eight votes to three in favour of approval.