Walls set to come down in Strachan

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Developers who erected two feature walls at the entrance to a new housing development in Strachan have been told to remove them.

Members of the Marr Area Committee, meeting in Alford on March 6, heard that developers Tulloch Homes erected the 5.6m fyfestone walls on ground at Bowbutts Farm, at the entrance to its Heather Bank development, before applying for retrospective planning permission.

According to a planning report presented to the committee, the main issues of contention were the siting and appearance of the walls in relation to the character of the area. Planners had recommended committee members grant the application.

Four letters of representation had been received in relation to the application.

Strachan resident Audrey Dykes said the walls were “totally out of keeping with other walls in the area” and the design was “not very good.”

Alistair Stenhouse, chairman of Feughdee West Community Council, which also objected to the application, said: “The wall should be replaced with a wall built from material in-keeping with the local area, such as dry stone. The current material is considered to be totally out of character with the surroundings.

“The name Heatherbank as marked on the existing wall should be replaced with Bowbutts Brae on any new wall, which is the correct postal address.”

Dilys Hudson, of Cammie House, Strachan, said: “Feature walls are out of place in the centre of Strachan village. The walls themselves are constructed in fyfestone, a synthetic attempt to resemble Cotswold stone and are, again, out of place in the village. The developer, Tulloch Homes, has disregarded the conditions of approval regarding the screening of the development.”

Cllr Karen Clark (Banchory and Mid Deeside) said the application should be rejected. “We should have a wall that’s in character and in keeping with Strachan,” she said. “I do think there’s a role we have to play in terms of respecting and safeguarding the character of the village and I don’t think this fits in with it.

“I don’t think it enhances the village - it sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s in the middle of the village and I don’t think the developers should be allowed to get away with it.”

Cllr Jill Webster (Banchory and Mid Deeside) said: “Frankly, the wall is horrible and and completely out of character with Strachan. It serves no purpose – it’s not a border. I can’t see why it’s there. It wasn’t on the original plans and it makes the new houses look like a gated community with the wrong name. I would wholeheartedly second that the proposal should be rejected. It should come down.”

Cllr Linda Clark (Banchory and Mid Deeside) said: “Heather Bank is not the right or accepted name and I can’t understand what’s going on with these walls. It’s out of keeping and is not bonnie and Strachan’s a beautiful wee village with drystane dykes. Landscaping has to be done because developers in the past have not done this. I would support my colleagues entirely here.”

Cllr Peter Argyle (Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside) added: “I would totally agree with the Banchory three. Not only refuse this but take enforcement action for it to be removed. It’s an eyesore and an abomination.”

Cllr Alistair Ross (Huntly, Strathbogie and Howe of Alford) said: “It’s not pretty and ought to come down.”

In refusing planning permission, Marr Area Committee chairwoman, Cllr Moira Ingleby said: “I think we seem to be unanimous. This is inappropriate and we don’t agree with the recommendation to grant permission. It should be removed and replaced with something more appropriate.”