On January 28th 2015 Sandlaw Farming, headed by Banchory resident Fred Duncan, submitted an application seeking immediate approval for "Planning Permission in Principle" for a 400 home development on part of the main Braehead site south of Banchory. Planning permission in principle is an approval for the principle of the development on a site, without specifics such as design, landscaping or access yet determined.
On June 18th 2015 at a full meeting of Aberdeenshire Council the chamber was told in detail the official reasons why the application should be rejected and they chose to support these unanimously. From the Council report these reasons included:
The proposed development is contrary to the strategic aims of the Aberdeen City and Shire Strategic Development Plan (2014) and approval would prejudice the ability of sites allocated within the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan to be delivered. As such the proposal is contrary to the aims of Policy 5 Housing land supply and the associated SG Housing1: Housing land allocations 2007-2016 of the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan (2012).
The proposed development does not meet any of the policy requirements and significantly exceeds the definition of small scale development as set out in Policy 3 Development in the Countryside and SG Rural Development1: Housing and business development in the countryside of the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan (2012). No exceptional circumstances exist to permit development of this scale in this location.
This site is not allocated for business development, and constitutes agricultural/woodland and therefore cannot be considered to be derelict, unused or underused. The proposed business/commercial part of this proposal is therefore contrary to Policy 1 Business development and the associated SG Bus2: Office development of the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan (2012).
Due to its scale and location on the south bank of the River Dee on an unallocated site outwith the settlement boundary, the proposal will have a detrimental impact on the existing landscape character and setting of Banchory. The proposal is therefore contrary to Policy 12 Landscape conservation and SG Landscape1: Landscape character of the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan (2012).
The proposed location of the medical centre, on an unallocated site which would not be in an accessible location within the settlement, does not comply with Policy 8: Layout, siting and design of new development or SGLSD7: Community Facilities of the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan (2012).
The site requires new accesses which currently cannot show that they will be safe, convenient for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport or cause minimal impact on the character of the site and the surrounding area. As such the proposal would be contrary to Policy 9: Developer contributions and SG Developer obligations2: Access to new development of the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan (2012).
The proposal would require traffic signals at the Bridge of Feugh which, subject to their location, have the potential to result in a detrimental effect on the character, integrity and setting of the category B listed Tollhouse and Bridge of Feugh contrary to Policy 13: Protecting, improving and conserving the historic environment and SG Historic Environment1: Listed Buildings
By virtue of its scale and location the proposed development would deter tourists from the local area and have a direct impact on Scolty Hill, the River Dee, Falls of Feugh salmon leap, fishing amenity and general recreational uses in the area to the detriment of the local tourist industry and economy.
The proposed development would move Banchory Primary School beyond capacity in 2018-19, and Banchory Academy is already at capacity. The proposal would therefore put pressure on existing education facilities in the town.
The proposed development is in an unsustainable location due to being outwith the settlement boundary and the possible routes available to walk to school would result in reliance upon the private car which in turn renders the development unsustainable and detrimental to the environment and air quality of the surrounding area.
Both the current and proposed Local Development Plans have reviewed the potential for development on this site and have sent a clear message by rejecting the site at every opportunity.
The Local Development Plan is prepared following statutory guidelines and is prepared in accordance with the Strategic Development Plan. The LDP considers the long term growth need of Banchory and allocates development accordingly. We have strongly supported the recommendation of the Aberdeenshire Council LDP to not include Braehead as part of the forthcoming 2016 LDP and we hope that they uphold their position that no growth is required South of the River Dee.