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Fears Balmedie will become an ‘urban sprawl’ as site earmarked for 1,650 homes

The site in Balmedie 
The site in Balmedie Picture by HEATHER FOWLIE

Balmedie residents have hit out at initial proposals to add more than 1,500 homes to their village.

Stewart Milne Homes and NORR are consulting with residents over a site they want earmarked for houses in Aberdeenshire Council’s next Local Development Plan.

The potential for the arrival of new and improved facilities has been welcomed by some within the community but others fear their village will become an “urban sprawl”.

The proposed development of 1,650 homes will be discussed at a meeting of the Formartine Area Committee on September 10 and September 11, when councillors will consider the development’s merits and pitfalls and make a decision on whether the site is reserved for development.

Speaking last night, one Balmedie resident – who preferred to stay anonymous – said: “We’ve been banding together to put up posters and spread the word ahead of September 10.

“With all the surrounding developments it feels like Balmedie is becoming trapped between them.

“People are worried about the impact on the roads and on the schools. They don’t believe there are enough facilities or schools to cope.

“Balmedie isn’t what it once was and it would be heartbreaking to see the dunes damaged further by yet more housing.”

A series of objections have been relayed to local councillors ahead of the meeting of the Formartine Area Committee.

One reads: “The proposed development site would effectively treble the size of Balmedie and would rely entirely on the existing Old Aberdeen Road, which passes through the village of Balmedie to access the A90.

“Given that a development of this scale would be phased over a number of years the amount of heavy construction traffic passing through the village would also have a significant detrimental impact on the residents of Balmedie in terms of safety, travel time, air and noise pollution.

“It is likely that there would be detrimental impact on the existing Balmedie primary school and local pupils in, at least, the short to medium term, until a new school was built.”

Objectors have also raised concerns about the fact the site lies within a coastal zone, and the effect the potential houses will have on surrounding wildlife.

Balmedie is already the subject of a controversial planning application at Trump International’s Menie Estate.

The proposals by Trump International Golf Links will be discussed next week and include community facilities, shops, offices and restaurants.

Around 500 residential homes and 50 leisure and resort units would be built if plans are approved. 

In 2017, councillors approved plans for a £150 million development in Blackdog, just south of Balmedie.

More than 500 homes are planned as part of the scheme, which is also to include a six-screen cinema, 150-bed hotel, shops and a petrol station.

In addition, it is to feature a “world-class” regional food hall, close to 53,820sq ft in size, which will sell produce from farmers and fishermen from across the area.

Mid-Formartine Councillor Paul Johnston said: “What is important is that people get in touch and share their views.

“People should be encouraged to read about the plans and I hope they relay their thoughts before September 10.

“If people don’t then it could lead to councillors making damaging decisions that don’t meet the community’s needs.”

A Stewart Milne Homes statement said: “Is in the very early stages of considering Balmedie North as a potential site as part of Aberdeenshire City Council’s Local Development Plan.

“Stewart Milne Homes has discussed proposals with the community council, and if suitable, a planning application will be submitted in due course.

“This will be subject to extensive consultation with the local community and in line with our open approach to planning residential developments.”

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