AN application for planning permission in principle to demolish existing workshop and offices at Forties Business Centre, School Road, Kintore and replaced with a mixed use development comprising retail units and short stay serviced apartments for tourism or business purposes was refused at the meeting of the Garioch Area Committee on Tuesday (January 31).
The application had been deferred by the Garioch Area Committee in December to allow the committee members to visit the site.
The application, by Safelift Offshore Ltd, School Road, Kintore is part of the site that was formerly Ashfield Petrol Station and Garage, and was recommended for approval by the Councils Planning and Environmental Service.
The application generated 24 letters of representation from 13 households expressing concerns regarding car parking, road safety, loss of privacy, noise and disturbance, over-development and scale and the control over who uses the holiday accommodation.
Kintore Community Council objected to the proposal on the grounds that it would be retail use being introduced into a predominantly residential area.
Area Planning Officer Darren Ross reminded committee members that the application was for Planning Permission in Principle and that the plans were only indicative at the this stage. He also pointed out that if permission was refused, industrial users could still go onto the site in the future as it is still “employment land”.
Committee Chairman Martin Kitts-Hayes noted that the indicative plans included serviced apartments for tourism and highlighted that in numerous cases in the past the length of stay had not been enforceable. He wondered how it would be possible to prevent the apartments being used by those who were not “bona-fide tourists” and therefore mitigate the effect that would have on the Kintore Primary school roll.
Planning Officer Darren Ross set the plans were indicative of very small apartments, but did accept there was an issue over enforceability. He also confirmed that committee could insist that the apartments be one bedroom only.
East Garioch Councillor Martin Ford highlighted local concerns over loss of privacy, loss of amenity, congestion on Tuach Road, the lack of parking spaces and concerns over road safety on School Road.
He noted that the application was for Planning Permission in Principle only but was not convinced that the indicated layout would not have an impact on neighbouring properties. However, he expressed doubts that any plans for the site would not have an adverse impact. He added that he realised that site had historically been used for employment and that whatever was going to go on-site in the future would be a very difficult decision.
He said his main issue with the proposal was over road safety in proximity of the school and in his opinion the proposal would create a “a bad situation“ and therefore he couldn’t support it.
Committee Chairman Martin Kitts-Hayes suggested that the simplest solution would be for the committee to refuse the application for Planning Permission in Principle and for the applicant to “submit a properly worked out application for Full Planning Permission”.
Planning Officer Darren Ross pointed out that Planning and Environmental Services shared a lot of the concerns that committee members had expressed.
Following the decision to refuse the application, East Garioch Councillor Fergus Hood urged the applicant to fully consult with the community before submitting a future application.