AMBITIOUS plans to develop Scotland’s largest new town for a generation were given the go-ahead today.
Members of the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee of Aberdeenshire Council granted outline planning permission for the creation of Chapelton - a £2 billion new settlement to be built on farmland, ten miles south of Aberdeen.
Detailed planning permission was also granted for the first 802 homes to be built at the 2,000 acre site on the sprawling Elsick estate.
The long-term master plan includes proposals for the creation of seven separate neighbourhoods across the site with up to 8,000 homes.The new town will also include industrial and business developments on land adjacent to Newtonhill with a potential to create up to 8,200 jobs.
Lord Southesk, son of the Duke of Fife and chairman of the Elsick Development Company, welcomed the green light for the massive development.
He said: “From day one of this process we have taken on board a very broad range of views to ensure that the plan is as well designed as possible. This has resulted in several amendments to the scheme and additional supporting technical, environmental and design information.
“Today’s news means we can potentially be on site in the Autumn and it will be very exciting to begin work on this landmark project.”
He added: “We believe that Chapelton will be a major economic boost to the area as well as addressing the need for housing of all types. With up to 8,000 homes planned in the long term, as well as schools, community facilities and commercial space, Chapelton is set to become a major new Aberdeenshire community.”
A spokeswoman for the development company said: “The town will offer a pedestrian friendly, mixed-use environment for residents, with a focus on community living. From an extensive range of homes and schools through to a well-planned town centre and green space, developers will deliver a new sustainable community on a highly significant scale.
“In June 2012 updated designs for Chapelton were unveiled at a public exhibition following feedback from the local community. Modifications included changes to address transport and infrastructure requirements.”
Stephen Archer, the council’s Director of Infrastructure Services, told the committee: “The site is to the west, and across the A90, from Newtonhill, taking in a vast area of land surrounding Elsick House. The site is constrained to the west by the safeguarded land for the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route and the Scottish Gas Network pipeline, and to the North east by the greenbelt which sits between the allocated site and the A90 trunk road.”
He said the council had received almost 100 objections to the development, raising concerns about its impact on the local biodiversity, public rights of way and prime agricultural land. Objectors had also claimed the new town would lead to increased traffic problems in the area and that there was no need for the scale of the proposed settlement.
But Mr Archer told councillors: “The ethos behind the Elsick development has always been to deliver a high standard of mixed use development, and the Planning Service commends the quality of the proposals submitted. To avoid the quality of design being eroded by inappropriate alterations to the housing, permitted development rights are to be removed, thus preventing any impacts on the quality of streetscape. The applicant has gone one step further, and intends to set up a Conservation Body to oversee and govern various aspects of the development both during and after construction.”
Meanwhile members of the council’s Formartine area committee today deferred taking a final decision on controversial plans for the construction of an electricity substation at Blackdog, linked to the £230million offshore wind farm in Aberdeen Bay which is being opposed by billionaire tycoon Donald Trump.
Members of the committee voted to delay making a decision pending further land investigations and a environmental impact assessment. Aberdeenshire Council had received 62 letters of objection to the construction of the sub station, raising concerns about heavy traffic, loss of amenities, noise disturbance, and access and its impact on local dunes and wildlife
But in a report to the area committee, planning chiefs said that, while the project will “undoubtedly” have an impact on the surrounding area, they were satisfied they could support the development.
The European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC) in Aberdeen Bay is being spearheaded by Swedish company Vattenfall - Europe’s sixth-largest generator of electricity - together with the Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group and engineering company Technip Offshore Wind.