Public consultation for Foveran expansion

PLANS to develop Foveran as a village have been welcomed by some local councillors ahead of a public consultation at the end of the month. However, two councillors have mixed feelings over the bid citing the large number of homes planned for construction.

The proposal comprises a mixed-use development which includes up to 100 homes, shops, a village square, a bridge over the Foveran Burn; an extension to Foveran Primary School and community facilities plus improved pedestrian linkages around the village and allotments. The Local Development Plan only allowed 50 homes.

Its purpose, developers say, includes first time sewerage provision for both the existing properties and the new development; improvements to Foveran School that will allow the School to expand more easily; a village with a defined centre, planned public open space, improved linkages, employment opportunities and the potential to achieve a settlement with a sense of place.

The proposed development at Westfield has been put forward by planning and architectural agents Halliday Fraser Munro on behalf of developers Harper and Cochrane.

Michael Cochrane, of Harper & Cochrane Ltd said: “We believe that this development has the potential to overcome the problems that Foveran presently experiences.

“These include inadequate foul drainage that has resulted in foul sewage running down the street on numerous occasions, a constrained primary school that struggles to fulfil its Physical Education curricular requirements as it has to use a bus to safely transport pupils from the school to the playing fields because of the adjacent A90, and the absence of an active village centre”.

Cllr Debra Storr told the Times: “The proposed development at Foveran was widely welcomed in the recent consultation on the proposed new Local Plan. Last Tuesday, Formartine discussed the representations and there was no voice raised against the suggestion that this development could be brought forward faster and possibly on a slightly larger scale. So I am pleased to see the master planning move forward.

“I proposed that we should indicate to the Reporter at the forthcoming examination of the Local Plan, that this is one change would be relaxed about. However I think my colleagues misunderstood the process. If the Council made major changes at this stage would have caused problems. But my colleagues seem frightened about indicating to the Reporter that they had listened to the representations and were relaxed about him making the appropriate change.

“Smaller scale developments stand a better chance of being developed while the economic climate is still fragile. If this went ahead, I am sure local construction firms would breathe a sigh of relief.”

Cllr Isobel Davidson commented: “The development of Foveran was supported by the local Councillors as part of the local planning process and I look forward to seeing the proposals.”

Cllr Rob Merson said: “The site is one of many which came before the Formartine Area Committee for consideration under the Local Development Plan process. It originally did so with the planning officers’ recommendation that it might be suitable for a development of up to 25 houses. In the event, the councillors felt that the village could sustain an increase of 50 houses during the plan period, and that was what has been submitted in the Local Development Plan for Foveran.

“I have been in protracted correspondence with Scottish Water on the matter of securing a public sewerage system for the existing houses in Foveran, and progress is being made on that issue. The number of new houses required to trigger the provision of a new public sewerage system is 50 units, and that fact was instrumental in my support for an increase to that amount.

“There will inevitably be winners and losers under the Local Development Plan process, and many developers’ applications were completely rejected. An adjustment to the units allocated to any given development site could create a chain reaction which would set the whole process back by many months – and that is in nobody’s interests.

“However, I am aware that the developer has managed to solicit a degree of local support for increasing the number of units to 100, as has now been proposed. For that reason I have indicated that should any latitude develop within the Local Development Plan process, I would be happy for the Foveran proposal to be given priority for further consideration.”

Cllr Gillian Owen commented: “A couple of Foveran residents have spoken to me about the proposed development at Westfield, 100 houses may seem very daunting and I understand the concerns they have particularly with the sewage, flooding and infrastructure problems that the village has experienced in the past and I am determined that when it eventually comes before Area Committee that these issues will be addressed in the plans.

“I can only believe that the development will make Foveran a more viable community providing additional numbers for the school as well as enhancing the school facilities. I am hopeful that other amenities such as a shop can be included in the plan which will benefit Foveran and its residents. If residents have any additional concerns I would welcome their input.”

The public consultation will be held in Foveran Hall on Monday, January 31 between 3.30pm and 8pm. Feedback from the public consultation will inform the final development proposals that will form an application for Planning Permission in Principle.