Councillors deny Springfield bid to build 22 homes in Hopeman

PLANS BY SPRINGFIELD PROPERTIES to create 22 new homes in Hopeman have been rejected by Moray Council’s planning committee.

Springfield sought to renew a previously failed attempt to build the homes and flats on Forsyth Street, placing a bid to the local authority in November last year.

That drew local opposition and a recommendation by planning officers that the bid be rejected as the proposal “did not reflect the settlement pattern” in the area.

On Tuesday councillors agreed and rejected the proposals, also agreeing that giving approval would have been detrimental to the existing ‘open character and identity’ of Forsyth Street and Hopeman. In total the application drew 254 objects against just four representations of support.

The motion to refuse was put by SNP councillor Aaron McLean. Committee chair Councillor Walter Wilson said that although there is a ned for affordable housing in Moray, it should never be at the expense of existing settlements.

He concluded: “We look at each planning application on its own merits and today it was agreed by the committee that this proposal is not fit for Hopeman.”

Springfield to appeal

A spokesman for the developers expressed their disappointment at the decision – and confirmed that they would now take their case to the Scottish Government.

The spokesman said: “While we expected this decision it is nonetheless disappointing that our application to build 22 highly energy efficient affordable homes in Hopeman has been refused planning consent.

“We’re sorry to those people on the housing waiting list in Hopeman who are now going to be forced to wait longer. They may even need to relocate to get housing through the Council.  Part of the problem is that affordable homes haven’t been built in Hopeman for at least 40 years.

“Moray Council’s Housing Need and Demand Assessment identifies a need for 20 affordable homes in the Hopeman area. Our proposals would almost completely resolve the affordable housing shortage in Hopeman.

“Scottish Government targets for the delivery of affordable housing are not being met and there is an obvious need for affordable housing in Hopeman. We fully intend to pursue an appeal to Scottish Government.”