Council could seek legal remedy over firm’s failure to pay £3.2m developer obligation

Aberdeen City Council headquarters

ABERDEEN City Council has announced that legal remedy could be sought over the non-payment of £3.2 million of developer obligations due for a primary school build in the city.

It comes after councillors agreed a motion which instructs officers to seek a final resolution with Countesswells Development Limited in relation to the construction of the new school at Countesswells – with there being an outstanding £3.2million of developer obligations due to the council.

The motion noted that, while other developers on the site are up to date with their payments, Countesswells Development Limited remain ‘significantly’ behind. The local authority added that, to date, attempts to seek a resolution have failed.

It was agreed at the meeting that, if options cannot be agreed with Countesswells Development Limited, a legal remedy would be sought in order to secure the community and council’s best interests.

The council said that the committee noted its resolve to work with developers during the difficult times presented by Covid, but ultimately the delivery of infrastructure such as schools, and the timing of their delivery, is dependent on developers upholding their part of legal agreements.

Aberdeen City Council city growth and resources convener, councillor Ryan Houghton, said, “It is good that members of the committee agreed to continue with the construction of the school while looking at legal remedies over the non-payment of developer obligations.

“The school is very much wanted by the local community and we are committed to getting it built and we also do not want to lose out on the very important developer obligation funding.”

A spokesperson from Countesswells Development Limited told Project Scotland, “We are surprised and extremely disappointed by Aberdeen City Council’s approach when we have been working co-operatively and constructively with officers on finding a resolution for the much-needed primary school.

“Despite the prolonged downturn in the Aberdeen residential property market and the additional financial and other pressures posed by the pandemic which have resulted in lower than expected revenues for the site, CDL has invested over £80million in the new community, providing homes, including affordable housing, for over 300 families. We have also transferred the land, on which the school is to be built, to the Council after investing significantly in servicing the 3.5 acre site with roads access and utilities. As a result, the new community, backed by a guarantee from HM Treasury, has won numerous national awards for the environment it has created and its innovation in relation to place-making.

“CDL remains committed to fulfilling its developer obligations and will continue to work with the council to ensuring these are met.”