MSP urges councillors to listen to traveller site concerns

Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett

Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett

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Aberdeenshire West MSP Alexander Burnett has urged councillors to listen to the views of the local community who are objecting to plans for a seven-pitch gypsy-traveller site near Kemnay.

Mr Burnett has backed the view of Kemnay Community Council, which has said that the application for Quarry Wood is contrary to local planning guidelines.

The MSP has also raised concern that a “dangerous precedent” could be set for future developments in rural areas.

Aberdeenshire Council has already taken enforcement action at the site, which previously had planning permission for three holiday chalets, after it emerged that it was being used an unofficial gypsy-traveller encampment.

The current application, due to be considered by councillors on Thursday, has been made on a retrospective basis.

Mr Burnett said: “There have been a considerable number of objections to this application and there is a great deal of concern locally that enforcement action from the council has had little effect.

“The site has gained near permanency already and the retrospective application has now been recommended for approval by officials.

“Kemnay Community Council has made a clear argument that this site has not been identified in the Aberdeenshire local development plan as being suitable for a gypsy-traveller encampment.

“The applicant appears to be riding roughshod over local planning guidelines.

“Approval by councillors could set a dangerous precedent for future development in rural areas and I would urge all members to listen carefully to the case being put forward by local residents.”