Lack of support for retail plans

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A shopping centre planned for a Donside community has been branded a “monstrosity”.

Proposals for a retail development in Westhill have been submitted to Aberdeenshire Council - but have already been met with opposition.

Under the plans the existing shopping centre would be altered, along with the car park.

St James’s Property Unit Trust, which owns the site, wants to attract more retailers to the town, and a supporting document says the design and layout has been created to be “welcoming” and “distinctive”.

But local residents have voiced their concerns at the designs for the glass-fronted units.

One said: “Is this the great new plan for the centre of one of Scotland’s most vibrant towns? It just looks like an out-of-town retail park. What a huge disappointment.

“Where is the town centre look and amnenities? This is just another low-cost retail shed, simply designed to provide maximum return with minimum investment.”

One shopper said: “The proposed monstrosity will do nothing to achieve the attractive and integrated shopping centre that is required.”

Another woman added: “The prefabricated design of the buildings is extremely ugly and takes into no consideration the green space it will be replacing.

“Westhill Drive is one of the centres of the community, with a church, school, community hall and a library. Take this opportunity to enhance that and not completely ruin it.”

A spokesman for the site-owners said they will continue to work with the council and local residents to ensure they were happy.