Work on the first phase of a multi-million-pound expansion of Elgin will get under way within months.
Findrassie, an all-new neighbourhood north of the town, will eventually consist of 1,500 homes, commercial land, a new primary school and community facilities.
Now the first phase of 500 homes – 375 of which will be affordable – have been approved by Moray Council, paving the way for work to start later this year.
Barratt Homes will carry out the work on behalf of landowners Pitgaveny Farms.
Rebecca Russell, of Pitgaveny Farms, welcomed the progress and said it was a result of many months of consultation with the local community.
She said: “From the start we have been committed to providing the sort of neighbourhood where people would want to live and, to this end, we worked with our advisors Savills to manage an extensive community engagement programme.
“Local people have been actively involved in planning this neighbourhood through design workshops, the Findrassie Forum, Pitgaveny Farms Open Days and a lively Pitgaveny schools programme.
“We are very grateful for the commitment of local community representatives for working with us to make this a people-friendly masterplan.”
The new neighbourhood has been designed to assist with the expected population boom and to tackle the housing waiting list, which currently has more than 3,000 people on it.
David Palmer, managing director for Barratt North Scotland, said he was looking forward to seeing the new community take shape.
“This first phase of the new masterplan development at Findrassie will see us establish a new community to the north of the town with the construction of 450 quality new homes,” he said.
“The area will also benefit from significant investment in community facilities, services and infrastructure, helping to support its continued growth as one of Moray’s most popular locations for buyers.”
Elgin Community Council chairman Alastair Kennedy said he believed Findrassie could create a legacy for the “future history” of Elgin.
He said: “We are delighted to see the Findrassie development get under way. There has been a huge amount of thought on the impact of this development both locally and Moray-wide.
“There will be a good mix of houses and the green-belt running through the development will act as a village green and very much a community space where different styled events will take place.
“Once the first phase is developed Elgin’s community councillors believe the development will become a runaway success and a great achievement, leaving a fine legacy for the future history of Elgin.”