Moray Council eyes build of 318 houses per year as plans approved

THE Scottish Government has approved Moray Council’s vision for local development in the constituency over the next 15 years.

The council said that it will now ‘proactively’ address a ‘lack of suitable housing sites’ in the Keith and Speyside areas. Elgin, Buckie and Forres are expected to continue being the areas with the highest number of residents, and further growth is anticipated in Aberlour and Fochabers.

The local authority said that each year, until 2035, 318 homes need to be built to keep up with demand in Moray, with land for an additional 414 required annually.

However, Moray Council will also look to ‘safeguard’ smaller towns and villages from development where there is ‘limited opportunity’ for growth because of issues such as infrastructure capacity or the protection of the area’s character.

As a result, the Scottish Government has backed Moray Council’s stance that the village of Hopeman shouldn’t be included as a tertiary growth area, with the council saying it has reached the limits of its ‘physical’ growth. This means that the site for 75 homes sought by Springfield Properties for land south of Forsyth Street will not be included in the local development plan, and will be rejected for a third time.

The Scottish Government planning reporter wrote in his accompanying report, “The spatial strategy takes account of the characteristics of Moray’s population, it directs development towards specific settlements based on their size, location and the availability of services, facilities and infrastructure.

“It seeks to respond to current and anticipated challenges in the provision of services and infrastructure.  It also takes cognisance of past patterns of growth, future opportunities and constraints.  I consider that the council is best placed to have knowledge of local circumstances in relation to those matters.

“I am content that the spatial strategy is consistent with SPP [Scottish Planning Policy] as it promotes a settlement hierarchy based on sustainable patterns of development, sustainable rural communities and reduced reliance on private car usage and is tailored to local circumstances.”

Moray Council’s strategic planning and development manager, Gary Templeton, commented, “A great deal of work has gone into creating this vision for Moray’s future, anticipating and designing places which will meet the needs of future generations. I’m confident what we have proposed will mean current and future residents of Moray can enjoy the benefits of sustainable, modern developments.”