Developer must donate to school

A PROPERTY developer will still be required to make an almost £175,000 contribution to schooling in Monifieth despite appealing against the planning condition.

H & H Properties is currently redeveloping the site where Milton Mill once stood, and hope to provide a total of 77 flats.

The site was subject to a long running planning row but in 2010 Angus Council finally granted planning permission to the firm for their proposal.

This was subject to conditions that H & H Properties made a contribution of £173,250, based on a payment of £2,250 for each of the 77 units, towards the cost of upgrading Monifieth High School.

They were also required to provide seven affordable housing units, three of which were for social rented housing and four for discounted home ownership housing.

But on Tuesday, an application by H & H Properties to have these conditions lifted was rejected by Angus Council’s development standards committee.

In the report circulated at the meeting, the housing company warned that due to a slowing property market some of the flats may not be built.

Already 17 units are completed, with work being carried out to create another 10 before an extra 14 will be added.

But they explained that the 36 other planned units may not be built if the market does not improve.

At first H & H Properties estimated the scheme would make a £1.15 million profit, or eight per cent but by September 2011, this had been revised to £320,000 or 2.01 per cent.

And given these margins, the firm believes it is unreasonable for them to apply a housing contribution condition as most local authorities require a minimum profit of 12 per cent.

However, councillors refused to drop the conditions as recommended by authority officials.

They say that H & H Properties still stand to make a profit, with the council’s education director adding work has already been undertaken at Monifieth High School to increase its capacity.

This would mean that the council would have to make up the shortfall.

And Angus Council’s infrastructure services director, Eric Lowson, said he would not be supporting the application as the local authority have been flexible enough with the developer.

He said: “Since the original grant of planning permission, the council has approved the demolition of Milton Mill itself which was a listed building and I consider this demonstrates a flexible approach towards assisting the developer.

“The head of housing has suggested that he would be prepared to revisit issues in relation to the location and tenure of the affordable units and I consider that such an approach would be reasonable.

“The council has already undertaken improvements to Monifieth High School in order to increase its capacity and monies from the anticipated developer contribution agreed through the planning obligation for this site have been included in the budget for those works.”