Councillors approve 1700 Aberdeen homes plan for second time
Plans for the construction of 1,700 homes to the north of Aberdeen have been re-approved by councillors after it was brought back to the authority following a landmark legal ruling.
The residential-led mixed use development, which will also provide shops, schools and a community centre at Rowett South in Bucksburn, was awarded planning permission in principle in September last year.
Councillors unanimously agreed a willingness to approve the proposals, tabled by the University of Aberdeen and Bon Accord Land Promotion, subject to conditions including a developer contribution towards the Strategic Transport Fund and further mitigation for the local road network as part of the legal agreement.
However a report had to be returned to councillors after the Duke of Fife – the landowner behind the Chapelton of Elsick development near Newtonhill – went to the Court of Session earlier this year, challenging the £8 million developer contribution bill to the Strategic Transport Fund.
The Queen’s cousin argued the financial demand was unlawful, and the court upheld his claim, prior to reducing the bill to just £287,000.
The report to councillors read: “At its meeting on September 17, 2015 the committee agreed a willingness to approve this application, but to withhold the consent document until the applicant had entered into a legal agreement to secure developer contributions and affordable housing.
“This included financial contributions towards the Strategic Transport Fund. Subsequently, a legal challenge was lodged at the Court of Session (Inner House) by the Elsick Development Company Ltd and Goodgrun Ltd.
“The Inner House issued its decision on April 29, 2016 which allowed the appeal and quashed the STF supplementary guidance.
“In light of this new material consideration emerging since the committee considered the application, there is now a requirement to refer the application back to committee.
“This is in order that the matter of the development’s impact upon the strategic transport network can be considered in the absence of the STF Supplementary Guidance.
“Although the committee are required to re-consider the application in its entirety, because the only material consideration to have changed is that in relation to the STF, this report looks at the issue of strategic transport only.”
In the aftermath of the ruling, the Rowett application was brought back to the city’s planning committee for a further decision.
Councillors unanimously agreed to the proposal, subject to the applicant entering into a legal agreement with the council to secure 25 per cent affordable housing on site and financial contributions towards a traveller halting site, schools and community centres.