Councillors refuse planning permission for extra homes near Stonehaven

Councillors have pulled the plug on developers’ plans to build extra homes at a North-east housing site.

Stewart Milne Homes already has permission to build 109 homes at Carron Den in Stonehaven, but the firm asked for permission to build a maximum of 155 on the site – including the 13 already built.

Kincardine and Mearns area committee considered the application at a meeting yesterday and voted eight to three in favour of refusing permission.

Councillor George Carr, who represents Mearns, said: “All the committee members went into the debate about this application with an open mind, and I think we reached the right decision.

“There are clear concerns about access, parking and the layout of the plan, as well as the lack of amenity space.

“With applications like this, it is important to get the balance right between the need for new homes and the appearance of the development site.”

Three people formally objected to the proposal, claiming that more pressure would be put on nearby schools if extra homes were added.

Objectors also said that the plans were a significant departure from the original 109 homes that were applied for.

In a report to the committee, Aberdeenshire Council’s director of infrastructure services Stephen Archer said the council was happy to accept that departure – due to the level of engagement the developers had carried out.

A spokeswoman Stewart Milne Homes said: “This application was for an adjustment to a previous planning consent for large, detached homes in order to meet current demand for a broader mix of homes in light of economic conditions and to unlock much-needed affordable housing.

“Overall, we are only adding an additional 41sqm to the overall development, which is about the area of a one-bedroom house.

“Having worked extensively with the council for 18 months to prepare an application that was supported by the planning, roads and housing departments, this decision is both disappointing and surprising.

“We appreciate the support from those councillors who understood the need to review the previous consent, agreed with the recommendation for approval and were keen to see this development unlock the delivery of 43 new affordable homes in Stonehaven.

“We will await the formal decision notice before deciding how we progress this.”

The housebuilder now faces the choice of asking the Scottish Government to adjudicate on the committee’s decision, or it can table a new application or press ahead with the development, sticking to the terms agreed when planning permission was given originally.