Refund sought for housebuilder’s ‘unnecessary’ developer contribution

Allan Clow

A housing developer is challenging Aberdeenshire Council to repay more than £100,000 in developer obligations it claimed it was charged “erroneously”.

Bancon Homes claims a change in the capacity figures for Banchory Academy means the charges it had to make towards secondary education provision when its plans for 38 homes at the Hill of Banchory were approved are no longer required.

The local authority asked Bancon for contributions of £3,229 per unit for a permanent school extension.

Permission was granted for the project in 2016, and 30 of the homes have since been built meaning to date the housebuilder has already paid £102,010 in compliance with the order.

However, the local authority revised its school-roll projections, showing that the school would already have sufficient capacity to deal with the influx of new students that could be caused by the plans.

In a statement submitted as part of the application to remove the conditions, Bancon Homes said: “It is therefore submitted that the agreement be deleted and the £102,010.56 be repaid to Bancon forthwith.

“It is therefore submitted that this change should have been declared as a material change to the required developer obligations and should not have been charged on completion of the houses.”

Allan Clow, managing director of Bancon Homes, said: “The planning contributions for our Oaklands site in Banchory did not take into account the fact that the council’s projected school rolls illustrated there was already sufficient school capacity, resulting in unnecessary contributions being paid.”

Aberdeenshire Council said it would not be appropriate to comment on a live planning application and that the matter would be considered and determined in line with planning policy.

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