The Scottish Government will umpire a dispute over plans to wipe out tennis courts to make way for hundreds of homes on the former Kincorth Academy site.
Aberdeen City Council’s planning committee signalled its support for the 212 affordable properties to be built over the former secondary school yesterday.
But that came despite Sport Scotland lodging an official objection, bemoaning the loss of badly needed facilities as a result of the development.
As well as the floodlit netball and tennis courts, the national sports agency is battling to save a 60m by 40m synthetic pitch and a grass playing field.
The body cited planning policy designed to safeguard outdoor sporting venues as they petitioned councillors to knock it back.
Council officers justify move
Council planners argued that the creation of new sports facilities at the replacement Lochside Academy would make up for the loss of the tennis courts – which they said are in “poor condition”.
Although elected members agreed with that verdict, there is still one crucial round ahead.
The application will be referred to Holyrood and ministers will have the final say.
New development to serve needs of city
The development, which is part of the council’s strategic housing investment plan, includes 27 three-bedroom terraced houses and 185 flats that would be built in four blocks ranging from two to four storeys in height.
The majority of the flats would have one-bedroom (153) while the others would have three-bedrooms (32).
All of the ground floor flats and 10 of the terraced properties have been designed to be wheelchair accessible.
Aberdeen City Council’s senior housing strategy officer Mel Booth said that the mix of properties “adequately reflects the housing need and demand” based on current council house waiting lists.
A total of 181 car parking spaces would be created across the site with each terraced property having access to a private driveway.
Prior to the meeting, the application received 26 other letters of objection.
Residents raised a number of concerns including overlooking, insufficient parking, noise and impact on local amenities.
The former Kincorth Academy was demolished in late 2019 and the site has since been cleared and fenced-off.
What do the rules say?
Scottish planning policy states that sports facilities should be protected from development
• Except where the development is attached to a site primarily used for outdoor sports.
• The proposed development involves only a minor part of the outdoor sports facility and would not affect its use and potential for sport and training.
• The outdoor sports facility would be replaced either by a new facility of comparable or greater benefit for sport, in a location that is convenient for users – or by the upgrading of an existing outdoor sports facility to provide a better quality on the same site or at another location that is convenient for users and maintains or improves the overall playing capacity in the area.
• Or when the relevant strategy and consultation with Sport Scotland show that there is a clear excess of provision to meet current and anticipated demand in the area, and that the site would be developed without detriment to the overall quality of provision.
Sport Scotland argues that no replacement has been put forward by the applicant, Aberdeen City Council, to make up for the loss of the courts, and there is “no strategic justification” for them to be removed.
The local authority insists that replacement facilities at Lochside Academy are sufficient compensation.