Residents and business owners in Stonehaven are being urged to attend a public meeting to discuss a “vision” for the town – which could involve building a supermarket on top of a thriving tourist spot.
Locals have long been calling for a larger supermarket for years, prompting several developers to come forward with proposals.
Stewart Milne’s proposals for a supermarket, petrol station and 400 homes at Mains of Cowie, at the entrance to the town, was eventually picked by councillors as the preferred choice earlier this year.
But Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee refused to include the scheme in the new local development plan, after members heard there was not public support for the edge-of-town site.
Now Stonehaven Town Partnership (STP) will host a public meeting at the town hall on Wednesday, August 27 to discuss “plan B” – a vision outlining potential sites in and around the town that would be suitable for a larger food store.
Chairman Douglas Samways said: “Through the Plan B event, we hope to identify ways in which Stonehaven can get what it needs, but also remain a thriving, vibrant community in which people want to live, visit, work, do business and spend their leisure time.
“We’re showing what is possible for Stonehaven and what might it look like in the future.”
Among the top sites – which were analysed in an independent study carried out by the group – is the recreation grounds at the entrance to Stonehaven, where the bowling and putting greens and tennis courts currently are.
But last night the idea was described as “crazy” by Frank Budd, the chairman of the town’s tourism group.
He said: “If you go down there any day the sun is shining, you can’t move as the place is thronging.
“One of the most iconic views of Stonehaven is from the golf course, you look down and see the Cowie, the caravan park, outdoor swimming pool and leisure centre, the tennis courts – it’s made for tourists.”
Mr Budd acknowledged the Scottish Government had issued a planning directive that supermarkets should be placed in towns rather than on the outskirts, but added: “In Stonehaven’s case we would have to sacrifice too much to do this.
“People really need to go along to this meeting and see the options – it’s up to the people of Stonehaven to knock this idea on the head.”
The public can view the various proposals during a drop-in session from 4pm-6.30pm, before the main meeting begins at 7pm.