Adventure centre plans in spotlight

Left to right NETCO vice-treasurer Tom Jenkins, vice-chairman James Davidson and chairman Martin Byers
Left to right NETCO vice-treasurer Tom Jenkins, vice-chairman James Davidson and chairman Martin Byers

Developers behind a world-class outdoor recreation centre in Lower Deeside are to hold a consultation event next week over the multi-million pound plans.

NETCO (North East Trail Centre Organisation), along with Collective Trax, will discuss the proposals for a £10million mountain bike park and adventure centre with snow sports with the public on Wednesday.

The centre could have year-round mountain bike trails

The centre could have year-round mountain bike trails

The event near the proposed development site at Durris Forest will be for people in the Crathes, Drumoak and Durris areas.

NETCO announced in March this year that there would be a series of consultations throughout 2018 to seek the views of the local community, businesses and stakeholders.

Residents can also contribute to the consultation by completing a questionnaire, which has been sent by post to every household in the identified site vicinity and is available online.

Plans for the ambitious project, seen as providing a major boost to the area’s growing visitor economy, were announced nearly a year ago.

NETCO chairman Martin Byers said: “We are committed to being open and transparent while developing plans for this exciting and unique adventure resort.

“Our community consultation process is designed to keep people well-informed, giving anyone interested the opportunity to have their say and shape our plans for the future.

He added “It’s really important that everyone can see what’s happening, so we’re running a series of engagement events at each planning and design stage to ensure that the views and needs of all people concerned are taken into consideration, before we make decisions.

“Earlier this year we launched an online survey to find out what outdoor activities people would like the development to offer. “More than 2,000 people took part and we gained lots of useful feedback.”

The drop-in event, which will be held in Durris Kirkton Hall from 2.30-8pm, will help form the final proposals ahead of a planning application.

The developers say that an application for planning permission in principle will be lodged with Aberdeenshire Council after the consultation period.

Detailed plans are likely to be tabled with the local authority next year.

If approved, the 630-acre site at Durris would see a multimillion-pound investment to create a new outdoor adventure and events destination for families and outdoor enthusiasts of all abilities.

The centre could have more than 28 miles of purpose-built mountain bike trails, an alpine park for ski-ing and snowboarding, adventure pursuits such as climbing and tree top rope courses, and nature-inspired activities.