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Potterton housing plan awaits councillor site visit

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A masterplan to build more than 200 homes in Potterton has been deferred to allow councillors to visit the site first.

Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes North Scotland are behind a major proposal to construct up to 233 houses on land at the north-east village.

Two neighbouring sites would be developed with 172 homes and community facilities on one and a further 61 units on the second.

The land at Potterton was identified for development as part of the recently approved Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan (LDP).

However, councillors have agreed to visit the sites first before deciding if the masterplan should get the go-ahead.

The vital document needs to be approved before any detailed plans can be submitted in the future.

If approved, the housing development is expected to feature a mix of house types including detached, semi-detached and terraced properties.

Meanwhile, 25 per cent of the site will be developed for affordable housing.

As part of the scheme, new outdoor community spaces would be created while wetland would be “retained and enhanced” to support biodiversity in the area.

The Blackdog Burn runs next to the western boundary of the land, but officials have claimed that no flood risk has been identified within the site.

But any areas of wet ground would be addressed through future site drainage proposals to ensure the new homes are not at risk of flooding.

Ancient woodland also lies to the east of the site but developers have ensured it will be protected.

Images show the scale of the development planned at Potterton

Barratt’s plan to bring the housing development to Potterton was unveiled back in July 2020.

Worried residents decided to take action against the proposal and formed the Keep Potterton Green campaign group.

A survey launched by Aberdeenshire Council just two months later was flooded with responses by local residents objecting to the sites being built upon.

Developers held two public consultation events last year to give residents the chance to view the proposals and have their say.

But despite the backlash, local authority planners said they were “satisfied” with the Potterton masterplan and recommended it be granted.

Once the document is approved, detailed planning applications can be submitted for consideration.

A number of local residents attended the virtual Formartine area committee meeting on Tuesday morning to voice their opposition to the proposal.

Some even pleaded with councillors to reject the masterplan.

Kenneth Badenoch believed the proposal failed to meet requirements of the LDP.

He said plans to put access points to the new development on the narrow single track unclassified road would be “extremely dangerous”.

Mr Badenoch also believed that the number of proposed houses would “remarkably” increase traffic in the area.

Meanwhile, Kenneth Gauld raised worries about road safety and said the community’s concerns had been ignored by developers.

He said: “The development will have a significant impact on the road infrastructure outwith the boundaries of this site.

“This masterplan does not address any of the connectivity issues we have in linking Potterton to Balmedie and Belhelvie in a safe and sustainable way.

“Aberdeenshire Council would in my opinion be seen as giving the developer economic advantage over the safety of the community.”

Mid-Formartine councillor Derek Ritchie suggested the committee visit the Potterton site first before making a final decision on the masterplan.

Councillor Andrew Hassan.

His call was supported by fellow ward member councillor Andrew Hassan.

Mr Hassan noted it was an “important matter” in the community and said there were still worries about surface water and surrounding roads.

He said: “If we are going to do this masterplan justice, we should meet on site.

“I still remain unconvinced and I wouldn’t like us to continue discussion until we get on site with the masterplan in front of us.”

He was backed by councillor Anne Stirling, who said that taking a site visit now would prevent any further delays in the future.

Members of the committee unanimously agreed to a site visit.

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