Homes developer told ‘listen to community’

An artist's impression of part of the proposed Braehead development.
An artist's impression of part of the proposed Braehead development.

Campaigners against a controversial 300-home project in Banchory have urged the developers to listen to the local community.

Aberdeenshire Council unanimously turned down the proposed scheme at Braehead, south of the town, at their meeting last Thursday.

On four separate occasions the community have sent clear messages that this site is totally unsuitable for development

Mike Adams Stop Scolty Redevelopment

The application by Turriff-based Sandlaw Farming Company attracted an unprecedented 640 objections and was recommended for refusal by planners.

Marr Area Committee also rejected the plans last month. A similar application for 400 houses was thrown out in June last year.

Mike Adams, spokesman for Stop Scolty Redevelopment, said after the full council meeting that the developers should take heed of the community’s opposition.

He added: “Repeat applications such as this serve only to clog up the planning system, running roughshod over the current and upcoming local development plans.

“On four separate occasions in the past three years the community have sent clear messages that this site south of the Dee is totally unsuitable for development.”

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

A spokesman for the applicants urged councillors last week to support the application, based on the need to expand the supply of private rented housing, and the local demand for affordable housing.

One of the reasons for planners recommending refusal was the detrimental impact the development would have on the landscape character and setting of Banchory.

Banchory’s three local councillors were all against the plans.

Councillor Linda Clark, who moved to refuse the application, said: “This application is joining others in a revolving-doors exercise. Refused earlier, tweaked and back it‛s come.

“It wasn‛t included when elected members deliberated on what should be included in the Local Plan for very good reason. How many times do we have to say ‘No’.”

Councillor Jill Webster, who seconded, said that with 640 objections submitted, the strength of feeling against the proposal had been overwhelming.

She added: “Time and time again, this site has been considered through the local development plan process and thrown out on every occasion for very valid reasons.

“It would ruin the landscape setting of Scolty, Blackhall and the Falls of Feugh as well as the unique rural setting of Banchory.”

Councillor Karen Clark said: “The elected members clearly took heed of all the key objections from those who live here in the community and acknowledged the detrimental effects the development would have.

“I would personally like to pay tribute to all those dedicated local people who have been fighting a long and challenging campaign since 2013 when this application first emerged.

“I would like to see this being the end of the story but I have no doubt that the developer will go to appeal.”

A spokesman for Sandlaw Farming Company said they were awaiting official acknowledgement from council and would consider their position over the next few weeks.