Plans for more than 700 homes, community facilities and industrial development on the outskirts of Inverurie have been recommended for approval.

Crichie Developments is looking to build 737 homes, a primary school and retail development at Crichie, which is just outside the Aberdeenshire town.

Council planners have asked members of the Garioch area committee to approve the proposal in principle under a delegated grant, the Evening Express has reported.

The development was first launched in February 2013 with discussions ongoing with the local authority regarding developer contributions.

At a meeting in August 2014, elected members agreed a delegated grant for the plans, but it will be referred back to the community due to a change in circumstances including the adoption of a new local development plan.

Stephen Archer, director of infrastructure services at Aberdeenshire Council, said: “Since August 2014, time has been spent agreeing a final package of developer obligations, including to the strategic transport fund (STF), discussing wording of conditions with transportation and Transport Scotland, and determining the content of and instructing the legal agreement. The passage of time has seen the adoption of a new local development plan and also the removal of the ability to seek contributions to the STF.

“Due to the complexities of large-scale development and the A96 corridor, updated responses have also been sought from Transport Scotland.

“These material changes require referral back to committee.”

Only five objections were lodged about the development with Aberdeenshire Council.

A legal agreement to be signed between the developer and local authority will secure the number of affordable housing units – which could be 184.

Mr Archer added there were still some uncertainties regarding the proposals.

He said: “The Crichie development is a significant proposal for Garioch and Aberdeenshire as a whole, given its contribution to the housing land (including affordable housing) supply, quality development and potential future education and employment land benefits.

“The previous reasons for delay in bringing the site forward have now been satisfactorily resolved allowing matters to progress.

“Some uncertainties do remain around the A96 dualling project, but the phased approach to the development allows for different future scenarios.

“The recommendation therefore is one of a delegated grant of planning permission in principle.”