Sir - Affluent Banchory businessman Fred Duncan, director of Sandlaw Farming Co. Ltd, has again applied for planning permission to build 400 houses at Braehead Farm, in close proximity to the local beauty and tourist attraction at The Bridge of Feugh.
This new application, which states in their Braehead Master Plan that the site could comfortably accommodate up to 600 homes, has been slipped in to a three-week window (21 days from January 29) giving Banchory residents only a short period of time to register their objections.
My concerns are for the loss of an amenity for locals and tourists alike, one of the few remaining undeveloped areas in Banchory. Below I have listed by concerns regarding the impact of development in this area along with pressure on schools, traffic congestion, sewage and suggested new surgery.
Traffic congestion with increased volume of commuters, especially at the Bridge of Feugh where the developers have suggested installing traffic lights, would create problems. Also, additional vehicles during construction - which developers state would take five years to complete - would significantly increase congestion, pollution and danger to pedestrians on the surrounding roads. The developers state that the new road would be wider and safer than the existing road. Maybe so, but I have great difficulty believing that the suggested new route for the B974 through the site would be suitable for the already large amount of traffic that use the existing road, including heavy goods vehicles. Are they really suggesting that motorists use this as an alternative route to Banchory avoiding the Bridge of Feugh, passing through the middle of a housing scheme? I cannot see any householder in the proposed scheme being very happy with this either. Sewage concerns: the problem of sewage disposal raises another issue. They will either have to install a sewage plant within the planning area, which in itself could create, under certain conditions, unfortunate odours, not only for new and existing residents but also for visitors to the Bridge of Feugh. Or, alternatively, they would have to pump the effluent to the Banchory sewage plant which is already running near to maximum capacity.
Sandlaw Farming admit that upgrades would be necessary to both the waste and water network.
Medical centre: The suggested site for the new health centre would only lead to increased traffic congestion.
Also, nowhere in Sandlaw Farming’s application can I find reference to the number of car parking spaces that will be made available.
Doctors, nurses and office staff alone would require a large amount of reserved parking spaces, let alone patients. Sandlaw have quoted that it is only half a kilometre from the town centre, offering ease of access by foot or public transport. Are they really suggesting this will be suitable for pensioners, mothers with babies and young children, or patients who, when requiring to see a doctor, would have a 1/2 km walk, possibly in inclement weather conditions? As for public transport, who would be willing to provide such a service considering the doctor’s surgery is open from 8.30am to 6pm.
I think the proposed new health centre is obviously a case of the developer dangling a carrot in the hope of gaining building permission.
I conclude by saying that this proposed development is totally unsuitable for this area. This ‘Fast Track’ submission can only be seen as a move to obtain planning permission by ‘back door’ means and once a precedent has been set it would be difficult to stop future development.
Sir - I would very much like to respond to Councillor Peter Argyle’s letter of January 29 regarding Tory candidate Alexander Burnett.
I wonder if the councillor’s time might be better spent on the fortunes of his own party.
We are constantly being told that Liberal Democrat support is collapsing nationwide - their support currently being recorded as on par with the Green Party.
How disappointing to hear from Councillor Argyle that he “would be happy to hold (Mr Burnett’s) coat” while he does the hard work of fending off the SNP! This seems to be in keeping with the Liberal Democrats’ stance during the Referendum when their efforts were so overshadowed by those of the other parties!
That the LibDems can beat the SNP in May seems unlikely. That we need to prevent the SNP from taking the seat is obvious - not least from how the constituency voted in September.
I have worked and lived in Deeside for more than four decades and firmly believe that, in all of that time, the constituency has been best served by Conservative MPs. Taking that personal belief and experience into consideration, I am convinced that Alexander Burnett is the MP West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine deserves. He CAN win against the SNP and WILL represent the local community so well.
We all understand that, despite their protestations that they would accept the results of the Referendum, the SNP are still intent on independence! An important means of avoiding their assault on the Union is to elect a good local candidate. Alexander Burnett, I feel, will work hard to protect our values and produce the real change required by the local community.
Name and address supplied.
This week’s picture of the week was taken by Colin Feeley whilst up at Loch Kinnord with his dog Tilly.