Committee housing decison condemed

Councillor Ford, who branded the decision an "unwelcome surprise for residents".
Councillor Ford, who branded the decision an "unwelcome surprise for residents".

A decision by Aberdeenshire Council’s Garioch Area Committee to support new developer bids for additional land to be allocated for housing in Newmachar had been branded and “unwelcome surprise for residents by local councillor Martin Ford.

The Area Committee’s decision which could result in more than 450 additional houses being built in Newmachar, was taken on Wednesday (May 28) at a meeting to consider responses to consultation on the Main Issues Report, a key stage in the production of a new Local Development Plan (LDP).

Councillor Ford told the Herald, “In the current LDP there are land allocations for 465 additional houses in Newmachar, none of which are yet built. These sites are expected to be carried over into the next LDP.

“The two developer bid sites favoured by the Area Committee could accommodate up to 495 houses. So if these two sites are also included in the next LDP, potentially up to 960 houses could be built in Newmachar, almost doubling the size of the village.”

Councillor Ford said that the Committee’s support was “unexpected” as he believed that there was sufficient land allocated for housing to meet the expected demand.

He added, ““For Newmachar, there is the risk of overly rapid growth if the extra sites are included in the next LDP. It would have a considerable impact if the village were to almost double in size over a relatively short time.

“More widely, developers may well be encouraged to challenge decisions by the Council not to include other bid sites in the next LDP, on the grounds of inconsistency.

“This was a very bad decision by the Area Committee. I hope it will be overturned by the Infrastructure Services Committee when it meets in July to consider the content of the next LDP.”