Campaigners battling plans for a major housing scheme on the outskirts of Aberdeen have been given fresh hope after it emerged Aberdeenshire Council has the power to scale back the development.
The neighbouring local authority has already come out against plans for 133 homes on land to the south of the River Dee.
Many in the surrounding community have already raised objections to the proposal lodged by the Comer Group.
The opponents were given a boost today during a hearing before Aberdeen councillors.
Why do both councils have a say?
It is proposed that 100 homes would be built to the east of the Leggart Burn with the remaining 33 units situated to the west.
The western part of the Leggart Brae development would be accessed by vehicles from the Causey Mounth – within the Aberdeenshire Council boundary.
An application seeking permission to use the route as an access road has been submitted to the local authority by the developers.
And it emerged today that if Aberdeenshire Council refuses the request, the 33 units to the west will not be built until alternative arrangements can be made.
It appears likely that the authority will take a dim view of the application.
Why is Aberdeenshire Council opposed to Leggart Brae development?
Aberdeenshire Council has already objected to the scheme as a whole.
Bosses deemed it an “undesirable” site for housing and urged Aberdeen City Council to remove the ancient woodland there from its local development plan (LDP) to ensure it is never built upon.
Residents previously told us they “could not see the logic of destroying our natural environment at a time when many properties sit unsold across the area”.
The Leggart Brae plan would include a mix of townhouses, detached, semi-detached and apartment dwellings split over two distinct areas.
Main access to the site would be formed from the A92 Aberdeen to Stonehaven road however a new junction with traffic lights would be installed to control vehicles.
More than 100 objections
Many residents in a nearby village, across the city bounds in Aberdeenshire, are keen to see it does not go ahead.
Community association Protect Banchory Devenick said it objects “on the strongest terms” to the plans and added that there was “no merit” for the development.
The group raised concerns about the impact it would have on wildlife habitat, flooding and drainage, schooling and road access.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Steven Gray said: “We believe that the committee should decline this planning application in order to protect the unique area of green land.”
The proposal received a total of 121 representations from local residents with all of them either objecting or noting concerns.
Leggart Brae an ‘exciting opportunity’?
If approved the housing scheme would be the first in the city for the Comer Group who have built thousands of new homes across the UK, Ireland and Europe.
Last year, the organisation’s UK chairman Brian Comer said: “The proposals provide an exciting opportunity for a sympathetic extension of the city – one that would see a mix of new homes carefully developed on the gateway to the Granite City.
“It has been important to me from the outset to ensure that due consideration be given not only to the characteristics of the site and its setting, but importantly the comments provided by all stakeholders during our public consultation.
“All of these, along with detailed environmental and technical assessments have helped shape and inform the vision for Leggart Brae.”
No decision was made on the proposal at the hearing however the development will be determined at a future meeting of the Planning Development Management Committee.