Decision deferred

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Developers behind a project to to expand a Donside town’s shopping centre will have to wait to discover if they have won the approval of councillors.

St James’s Place Property Unit Trust wants to make Westhill Shopping Centre bigger and attract retailers to the expanding town.

The Garioch area committee was due to discuss the proposals - which more than 20 people have objected to - on Tuesday, but deferred the application for a site visit.

Residents raised concerns about the design of the building and feel it may look unwelcoming to people approaching from Westhill Drive.

There are also concerns about the loss of trees, competition among retailers and access and parking.

The original proposals were redesigned after local residents branded the building a “monstrosity” when Westhill Community Council asked for opinion on its website.

The original designs were described as a “low-cost retail shed” and a “huge disappointment”.

Developers met the council officers to discuss the design issues, which head of planning Robert Gray described in a report as “completely inappropriate by virtue of its unwelcoming nature, blank elevation with minimal interest and landscaping”.

The planning service is now recommending approval for the revised proposal.