Major development raising concerns

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ANGUS Council is to provide a list of concerns to Aberdeenshire Council over the potential impact of the proposed Newesk village at the former Edzell air base.

The concerns were being raised at a meeting of Angus development standards committee being held in Forfar on Tuesday (yesterday), just as the Brechiner was going to press.

There are concerns about how the proposals could impact the north of Angus.

The application site for the new village extends to approximately 179.5 hectares which will include 62.5 hectares for a sustainable village, including housing, landscaping, open space and community facilities, and 116.5 hectares for the Edzell business base.

Work on the proposals would take place over three phases with the first phase taking place from 2007-2016, seeing 150 new homes.

The second phase, from 2017-2023 would see an additional 150 houses and the final phase, from 2024 to 2030 would see 700 new homes.

The level of new homes, especially in the third phase of building, has caused some concern at Angus Council.

Director for infrastructure services, Eric Lowson, explained in his report to councillors that one area where there is likely to be the most direct impact is housing, where the dynamics of the current Brechin and Montrose housing market area may be affected to a greater or lesser extent.

“The overall scale of residential development proposed, particularly in phase three, will have implications for the North Angus Housing Market Area (HMA), and particularly the delivery of new housing.”

A continued movement of households from Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to North Angus HMA, due to the availability of attractive housing products at lower prices, may change given the significant levels of future development in south Aberdeenshire.

“Even with ongoing in-migration from Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, completions of new affordable and market housing in the North Angus HMA are running at their lowest levels for a number of years,” continued Mr Lowson.

“There have also been delays in the delivery of residential development on sites allocation within the Angus Local Plan Review, particularly the major land allocation at Dubton Farm, Brechin, where no development has yet taken place.”

This has left the council concerned that the development could suppress migration from Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire into North Angus HMA, resulting in continued low completion rates for new affordable and market housing in the area.

Also there could be further delays in the delivery of development on sites allocated within the Angus Local Plan Review.

The head of roads at Angus Council has raised concerns on the potential impact on the A90 junctions at Northwater Bridge and Laurencekirk.

“Traffic from the construction of some 300 houses and from the employment uses, added to the nationally increasing volumes of traffic, will increase the potential risk at this [Northwater Bridge] junction,” explained Mr Lowson.

It is therefore suggested that, in order to mitigate potential road/traffic safety risk, a reduction of traffic speed and lighting may be required from the outset.

At the Laurencekirk junction there are already serious concerns over the performance of the junction. Any additional traffic will only add to its current risk.

It is difficult to determine how the scale of employment land would impact the existing employment land sites at Brechin and Montrose.

“Interest in both locations remains positive and both are well established,” said Mr Lowson.

“It should also be noted that a successful business park development at Edzell air base would also give a positive opportunity for new jobs to north Angus residents.

“With an increased number of residents living in the area there could be potential issues of educational capacity.”

The construction of a new school would resolve local primary school capacity issues.

However, Angus Council has stated that there are no indications of a commitment by Aberdeenshire Council to provide a new school of how the proposed development would be accommodated by the existing primary school network.

There could be an impact on Edzell Primary School although this would only be able to be assessed once confirmation on how education requirements will be delivered by Aberdeenshire Council are known.

To ensure the full understanding of cross boundary issues, including education provision, Angus Council is keen to have officers from the relevant departments of both councils to meet and discuss their concerns.