The Scottish Government has ruled that housing developments near a North-east town should be limited until proposals to expand a major road have moved forward.
Senior Holyrood planners said it would “not be appropriate” to set aside any land for new homes near Inverurie in the next four years before a favoured plan for dualling the A96 between Aberdeen and Huntly had been identified.
Transport Scotland admitted it will be 2019 before a “preferred option” for the Aberdeenshire leg of the project was identified.
Proposals being considered by the body for the “eastern section” of the A96 include a dual carriageway from Blackburn to just north of Huntly, passing west of Inverurie. Another is a smaller eastern bypass, connecting Inverurie and the Glens of Foudland.
The Scottish Government’s Department for Planning and Environmental Appeals recently examined Aberdeenshire Council’s proposed 2016 local development plan.
It stated there was “uncertainty” surrounding housing land allocations near Inverurie, because no preferred option had been identified.
The DPEA’s feedback stated this “currently limits development opportunities in Inverurie”. The report said: “It is not considered to be appropriate to allocate additional land in the Inverurie – Blackburn SGA (strategic growth area) at this present time.”