Work to build dozens of new homes in Oldmeldrum will begin in the coming months after years of planning and an eleventh hour change of developer.
Meldrum House Estate and Cala Homes were granted permission to build 36 properties within the grounds of the hotel and golf club last year, after a planning battle which spanned almost four years.
But work on the development will now be carried out by Udny-based Cairnrowan Custom Homes instead.
Cala Homes (North) and Meldrum House Estate was due to create a mix of four and five-bedroom detached houses – including in new areas such as alongside part of the B9170 Oldmeldrum to Methlick road.
That plan was met with resistance from some locals last July, though, who were concerned over the proposed felling of ancient woodland there.
They had concerns on how that would affect local wildlife, but the proposals were eventually approved by the Formartine area committee in September.
Now, though, Meldrum House Estate has agreed a new partnership with Cairnrowan Custom Homes to complete the development after Cala’s involvement “no longer made sense” due to the time taken to secure planning approval.
Bob Edwards, director at Meldrum House Estate, said: “The proposals for this exciting project have been many years in the making and we were delighted to receive approval for the vision of creating bespoke, luxury homes within our grounds last year.
“Due to the time taken to secure these approvals, it no longer made sense for our previous partner to progress the plans, but we are thrilled that they have completed a successful handover with Cairnrowan Custom Homes who will deliver this remarkable collection of homes.
“We look forward to work commencing on the project in the coming months and hope to be able to give more details very soon.”
Cala Homes (North), originally put forward plans for a scheme of 50 properties at the site in November 2017, but in July 2019 went back to the drawing board and scaled down the target to 36 homes instead.
A spokeswoman for the firm said: “We worked with Meldrum House Estate for more than four years to secure what was a very challenging consent.
“The timing of the approval means that the opportunity no longer fits with our wider business strategy and so we have completed a successful handover of the project to the new delivery partner.
“We continue to proactively look for land opportunities in the region and will focus on our wide portfolio of new, growing and proposed developments, including Friarsfield West in Cults, two new phases at Craibstone Estate and a third phase at our landmark Oldfold Village development in Milltimber, all of which will commence in the coming months.”
The 13th century manor house sits in a 240-acre estate and offers 38 bedrooms as well as a further 13 in its converted stables.
In 2016 hotel bosses completed a massive £4.5 million project to build a new wing adding 28 bedrooms and a new ballroom.