Housebuilder seeks council repayment

Bancon Homes is seeking a repayment over a change in capacity figures for Banchory Academy
Bancon Homes is seeking a repayment over a change in capacity figures for Banchory Academy

A North-east housing developer is challenging Aberdeenshire Council to repay more than £100,000 in developer obligations.

Bancon Homes claims a change in the capacity figures for Banchory Academy means the charges it had to make in terms of secondary education provision are no longer required.

The company’s proposed development at land at Oaklands, near Hill of Banchory, was assessed against the school roll forecasts.

It was instructed by Aberdeenshire Council to make contributions of £3,229 per unit – index-linked – to provide a permanent school extension.

Having now completed 30 properties on the site, with eight remaining to be invoiced, Bancon has, to date, paid £102,010.

But the firm claims that in March 2016, the local authority’s education, learning and leisure committee agreed to set the capacity of Banchory Academy at 900 pupils rather than the 780 previously published when planning approval was granted in the June.

Bancon states: “It is therefore submitted that this charge should have been declared as a material change to the required developer obligations and should not have been charged on completion of the houses.”

It also stresses that subsequent agreements for development at Lochside of Leys and the balance of units at Oaklands do not require any contribution towards secondary school expansion as there is forecast to be sufficient capacity.

Bancon adds: “It is submitted that based on the established school capacity at the time of the agreement, there can be no justification for the money to be spent on a permanent extension of the school to address a capacity shortfall resulting from the development as there was none forecast.”

Aberdeenshire Council said it would not be appropriate to comment on a live planning application and that the matter would be considered and determined in line with planning policy.