Backing for new golf resort

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Plans for a £100 million golf and tourism resort in Deeside were voted through this week and will go forward for full aproval.

The Marr area committee approved the application for a luxury tourist resort at Inchmarlo, at a meeting in Alford on Tuesday.

The proposal, by Frank Burnett Ltd, could create up to one hundred full-time jobs and bring millions of pounds into the local economy.

The plans still have to come before a meeting of the full Aberdeenshire Council for a final decision.

Initial plans for the resort were thrown out at a full council meeting earlier this year despite winning the backing of the local area committee.

The site already features an 18-hole golf course, nine-hole course and driving range.

A five-star hotel, cookery school and eighty houses would be added under the new plans and the golf courses would also be upgraded.

The committee voted 7-3 in favour of approval with several conditions, including that the hotel must be built first.

Other conditions included a full consultation on road proposals, assurances that improvements are possible at the signalised A93/B974 junction and the creation of a forum where local people can express their views as the development progresses.

Banchory and Mid-Deeside councillor Jill Webster was in support of the plans but felt it was vital that the hotel was built first.

“There is no doubt a five star hotel and spa would be a fantastic asset to Banchory, Deeside and Aberdeenshire,” she said.

“Absolutely prime for me was that we were assured that the hotel and community facilities would be developed first. It is vital that we do not land up with the houses and not the hotel and community benefits.”

Councillor Webster also said she had concerns over the road arrangements but felt they could be addressed at a later stage.

Councillor Linda Clark put forward a motion to refuse the application, which was seconded by fellow Banchory councillor Karen Clark.

Speaking after the meeting, Linda Clark explained why she voted against the proposal.

She said: “I felt that the development was too vast and it goes against the council’s Local Plan. I also have a major issue with the Glassel Road as I do not feel that chicanes are suitable.

“I am not against developing the area but I just don’t think this particular development is the right one. The majority of the people who have contacted me have said that they are against the proposal and as an elected member I feel I should represent their views.”

Planners suggest building eleven chicanes to address traffic issues on the Glassel Road but councillor Karen Clark believes they would create “chaos”.

She said: “The roads around the development are still a major concern and even the planners admitted that chicanes are not the ideal solution.

“I am not anti-business by any means but I’m not convinced that the economic benefits are proven. This development will urbanise a whole landscape.”

Frank Burnett Ltd chairman Stan Troup said: “We are pleased with the decision and hope that the full council will follow suit.”