Councillors asked to reconsider ‘100% affordable’ north-east neighbourhood scheme

Councillors who delayed a proposal for a new 231-home neighbourhood in the north-east have been asked to restart the project after fears over traffic and safety were proved unfounded.

Last month, the Formartine area committee raised concerns about granting planning permission to developer Springfield Properties to build 231 affordable homes in Turriff.

The proposed Meadowbank Road development on the north-east boundary of the town will transform the 30-acre site into a new community.

Under the scheme, all the homes – a mix of semi-detached and terraced houses as well as bungalows and flats – would be deemed “affordable”.

Planners called on councillors to back the venture, but committee members raised concerns about the impact such a large development would have, and whether there was enough demand for cheap homes in Turriff.

Councillors also called for an explanation of why the site – originally earmarked for 150 homes – was set for 231 properties.

But now, authority planners have drawn up a fresh report to councillors with assurances that the town can accommodate an influx of hundreds of families.

Infrastructure director Stephen Archer said: “The increase in the housing numbers are the result of the applicant proposing to replace the 150 larger houses originally sought by another house builder with smaller houses that would be delivered as affordable.”

In a supporting statement, a Springfield spokesman argued the difference in the number of bedrooms was from the original submission of 442 to the 489 now proposed.

Mr Archer said the increase in potential occupants was “not considered to be significant”.

He added: “It is concluded that the traffic generated by the proposed development would have a negligible impact on the operation of the road network. We are satisfied with the proposed application in terms of roads and road safety.”

The final concern raised by the Formartine committee – which will meet again on Tuesday to reconsider the scheme – was the viability of a “100% affordable” neighbourhood.

In his report, Mr Archer responded the council could support at least 25% and the remainder would be the responsibility of Springfield.

For the scheme to go ahead, the committee will first have to agree a fresh masterplan for the land before granting the firm full planning permission.