MORAY COUNCIL FACES a legal challenge over its decision to back a planning application for beach huts at a popular beauty spot in Findhorn.
Despite 173 notes of opposition to their construction when they were put to members of the planning and regulatory services committee in May, councillors approved proposals to create 30 beach huts on the north beach in Findhorn – against the recommendation of planning officials.
The decision sparked anger and dismay with developers wasting little time in marketing the huts through local firm CCL Property Ltd, with half the huts already being offered for sale at £25,000 each.
Construction of the beach huts has been put on hold, however, as objectors have consulted a Barrister in Edinburgh with a view to a Judicial Review being undertaken at the Court of Session.
Leading objector Christine Hunt insists there is a lot of support from residents who have now raised sufficient funding to being the Judicial Review process into the council decision. She told the P&J: “We feel that legally there is provision for a review to be carried out on the grounds that granting permission represented exceptional circumstances.
“These plans fly in the face of everything the Findhorn community wants and we do not think Moray Council has followed planning laws in granting them.”
As a result of the move the Inverness-based firm behind the scheme, 1 Architects, have postponed construction out of respect for the legal process, a spokesman saying: “Using the appeals process is a democratic right and we do not wish to disrespect that process by launching construction until this is resolved.”
Developers insist that there was nothing wrong in Moray Council’s decision to grant the planning application, and refuted the “misconception that the huts are for wealthy outsiders”, saying that most of the interest shown had come from a 10-mile radius of the site.
Councillors agreed by eight votes to six to allow the planning application in May, noting that their own development management section had raised no objection and had said the huts would “significantly enhance Findhorn as a tourist destination”.
However, Council planning officers recommended refusal, saying that the huts would “detract from the amenity of the beach and unspoilt character of the area”.
When built the huts will have in internal footprint of just 2 by 2.5 metres with one door and no windows, while they would have no mains electricity or water supply.