Affordable housing gets green light

PLANS for a major housing development at Richmond Farm at Peterhead went before members of the Buchan area committee last week.

Councillors were informed of changes to the affordable housing provision being proposed as part of the application.

Following the Committee’s consideration of the application in December 2009, discussions led by the council’s housing service and Corporate Services (Planning Gain) were undertaken with the developer to progress the affordable housing requirements.

These discussions resulted in a new package of affordable housing provision being agreed, amounting to eight units being provided off-site at Strichen (on land also owned by the developer) to be built by the developer to the council’s specification and transferred to the council upon completion at nil cost.

Ms. Forbes told members: “The new proposals for affordable housing comprise eight units being provided off-site at the old school site, Market Stance, Strichen. The units would fulfil the affordable housing obligations for the Peterhead site (previously 25 units) and an outstanding obligation at the developer’s St Fergus site (six units).

“Should the Strichen site not proceed, then the affordable housing obligations will revert to the Peterhead site as previously intimated to the area committee. It is recommended that the committee endorse this approach.”

Councillors feared that these changes could have an impact on the location in Strichen, and looked for confirmation that the buildings developed would be of the same high quality to those already existing.

Councillor Chapman said: “I would hate to see lowcost building on this site, it’s a high quality development so we need to be sure that the buildings will be of the same standard.”

Councillor Anne Allan added: “I agree with what councillor Chapman is saying. I have deep concerns about their being affordable housing within the same scheme, we need to make sure these houses are indistinguishable from the others.”

The application was agreed, on the conditions that it was stipulated to timescales, with there being sanctions if these were not met, and also the need for a high specification of building.