Campaigners welcome homes decision

The proposed development site at Braehead, south of Banchory
The proposed development site at Braehead, south of Banchory

Developers have admitted defeat in their controversial bid to build 300 homes in Banchory.

It comes after a Scottish Government Reporter dismissed an appeal against the refusal of proposals for a housing development at Braehead, south of the town.

The decision has been welcomed by opponents of the scheme, proposed for land at Auchattie.

And the company behind the project, Sandlaw Farming Company, has confirmed it will not challenge the ruling.

A spokesman said: “Naturally it is disappointing to lose the appeal. It is a pity that so many young families and key workers who can’t afford to buy houses in Banchory will not now have the opportunity to rent affordable modern homes.” The Braehead plans had encountered widespread opposition - attracting more than 600 objections and failing to get the backing of planners.

It was turned down by Aberdeenshire Council in April and an appeal was lodged in July.

Permission in principle had been sought for 200 private rented properties, 75 affordable and 25 assisted living units, along with community uses.

In his appeal decision issued last Wednesday, reporter David Russell stated: “I conclude that the appeal proposal would not accord with the relevant provisions of the development plan and find that there are no material considerations which would still justify granting planning permission in principle.

“Many representations have been submitted in relation to this proposal and appeal. I have considered all of the written material submitted, including the environmental statement and associated statements and documents in support of the proposed development, but I have found nothing which would lead me to alter my conclusions.”

Campaigners had urged Sandlaw to heed the feelings of the community when the application was originally refused. Mike Adams, spokesman for Stop Scolty Redevelopment, said: “We are delighted that the reporter has agreed with the planning department, local community and all Aberdeenshire councillors in upholding the original decision.

“The Banchory community has never been more united in taking a stand against over-development in the area and we will remain united in protecting this site into the future.”

Banchory Community Council chair Mary Lennox said: “The community council is pleased and relieved to learn that the Scottish Government has agreed with the strongly felt view of the community that this projected development was in the wrong place and would have had a permanent adverse effect on the vicinity of Scolty and the town of Banchory.”

Local councillor Karen Clark said the decision sent out a clear message to developers. She added: “This is great news and I am very relieved that the reporter has thrown out this appeal. It has been a long-running and stressful saga for our community which overwhelmingly rejected this development not because we were NIMBYs but because the key material considerations for rejecting it were sound.”

Fellow Councillor Jill Webster said she was “greatly relieved”, adding: “Much of the findings in the report corroborated the points raised by local people recognising there was no reason to deviate from the local development, and highlighting the potential detrimental impact on the landscape setting of Banchory.”

Colleague Councillor Linda Clark said: “I’m delighted for the folk in question. This is an excellent outcome. There was an enormous amount of opposition to this development and all along they stood up for what they believed in.”