Approval for Peterhead housing plan welcomed

The TEAM behind a major new housing development in Buchan has welcomed Aberdeenshire Council’s decision to back the scheme.

Councillors on the Buchan Area Committee voted in favour of the masterplan for land at Wester Clerkhill, on the outskirts of Peterhead, when they met on Tuesday, February 26.

The blueprint features more than 400 new houses, including affordable accommodation, as well as the provision of land for a new community hub.

Associated transport links and a network of cycle paths and pedestrian access have also been approved.

Aberdeen-based planning consultants Knight Frank formulated the application on behalf of land owner Susan Baxter and placed the emphasis on providing a sustainable development that would bring benefit to the Buchan area.

Gary Purves, of Knight Frank, said: “We have been involved in extensive consultation with the public to formulate the masterplan and we’re delighted that the involvement of local residents has helped create a vision for a development which will be a real boost for Peterhead and the North-east.

“The development is about far more than simply creating much needed housing in an area where there is great demand. It also includes scope for some excellent community facilities, with land set aside for everything from allotments and a recycling centre to a care home and shops.

“The key to creating a successful development is ensuring it will stand the test of time and create a community.

With Wester Clerkhill we have succeeded in doing that by paying close attention to the feedback the extensive consultation brought.

“We have also worked closely with the local authority to ensure the development supports the Energetica project, particularly with the formation of new access links to the A90.”

Aberdeenshire Council planners praised the Wester Clerkhill masterplan, describing the scheme as “admirable” and noting the site’s potential to be developed in an “innovative” way.

A council report on the scheme states: “This site is not a completely blank canvas, there are a number of strong landscape features worthy of retention, specifically the mature hedging/shrubs alongside the former access track to Wester Clerkhill farm complex and a well established belt of small trees and shrubs running east to west along a drain ot watercourse.

These are indicated to be retained with the exception of formation of new accesses through them.”

Within the site itself, the street structure has been designed to create a layout structured round a compact and walkable hierarchy of streets and to reflect the requirements of ‘Designing Streets’.

In a report from the office of Infrastructure Services, director Stephen Archer states: “This approach allows for more innovative use of spaces away from neighbourhoods dictated by cul-de-sac type roads, pavements and traffic calming measures to more subtle solutions and creation of more people-focussed places”.

In all, two initial phases are shown and five subsequent phases, taking anything up to 25 years to build out the entire site - depending on demand.

Planning gain has been discussed and at the moment, say the council, contributions towards sports and recreation, health facilities and open space are envisaged.