Plans for a 100-room hotel outside Laurencekirk have been backed by councillors – but work can only start when a delayed flyover scheme is complete.
Residents have campaigned for almost 20 years for the crossing between the A90 Stonehaven to Dundee road and the A937 Laurencekirk to Montrose route.
They say it is desperately needed to prevent crashes and near-misses at the accident blackspot.
The £24 million infrastructure was meant to be in place by 2022…
And now, developers have been told their plans for an economy-boosting new 100-hotel on the outskirts of Laurencekirk can not go ahead until the scheme is finished.
What will new development feature?
During a meeting of Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee this morning, members unanimously backed the scheme to the north of the A90.
As well as the hotel, the 8.1 hectare site will include a new restaurant, petrol station and retail space.
Planning officers showed members images of how the development would look both with and without the longed-for junction improvements.
Scroll back and forth to see how the layout differs:
But councillors were told that Transport Scotland has stipulated the roadside development can not go ahead until the flyover is in place.
They also heard that, once up and running, the new facilities would provide more than 30 full-time jobs.
The AJ Developments proposal was hailed by officers as “an anchor for wider tourism activity in the Mearns area”.
Laurencekirk hotel will encourage people to enjoy the beauty of the Mearns
Councillor George Carr led calls for the application to be progressed.
He said: “There has been a fair degree of community support for this.
“It will be very much welcomed in south Aberdeenshire.
“We are needing something that encourages people to stop and the explore further.
“But it’s important that the junction is completed before any of this goes forward.”
What next for Laurencekirk hotel plans?
The major development has now been approved in principle.
That means more detailed proposals will be put forward for further consideration in due course.
Flyover progress still at a standstill
A Transport Scotland spokesman confirmed that the government body is still “working actively” to resolve the disputes holding up the flyover.
He said: “The Scottish Government is committed to completing the A90/A937 Laurencekirk junction improvement as soon as possible.
“We received four objections to proposals during the statutory consultation period for the draft orders and we continue to work actively with objectors to resolve concerns where possible.
“Should we be unsuccessful in removing all objections, a public local inquiry may be required.
“Delivery of the scheme itself can only commence if it is approved under the relevant statutory procedures, at which point a timetable for its progress can be set.”
The spokesman added that, when completed, the flyover will “improve journey times, reduce delay and improve safety”.