Scores of families will soon form a new Banchory eco-village – doing their bit to fight climate change by simply choosing where to live.
The self-sufficient settlement will be formed to the rear of the Tesco at the entrance to the town.
It will become one of a handful of such “alternative communities” across Scotland, where people eschew many modern conveniences in favour of a planet-saving lifestyle.
Aberdeenshire Council has approved plans for 32 homes at the unique development on farmland off Harestone Road.
We’re all now living more eco-friendly lives in one way or another these days, with many small changes to help fight climate chaos…
But what is it about this eco-village that would make Greta Thunberg proud?
Who is behind the plans?
Banchory North Limited is spearheading the proposals.
Tory MSP Alexander Burnett is the company’s chairman.
The group formed a £100 million “masterplan” for the town in 2014, so it has been years in the making.
That masterplan also included proposals for hundreds of houses at the Hill of Banchory.
How will the Banchory eco-village help to save the planet?
Every house will be fitted with an air source heat pump for hot water and heating, while solar thermal panels will be installed to provide energy.
What is an air source heat pump, and why is it environmentally friendly?
Most home heating systems either burn fuel or convert electricity into heat
Heat pumps are different because they don’t generate heat. They “move existing heat energy” from outside into your house.
That means they are more energy-efficient, and cheaper too.
OK, any other green credentials?
Yes. It will be close to the 120-plot Woodend allotments, meaning much of the fruit and veg consumed will be grown there. No need for trips to the Tesco down the road.
Also, the landscaping will be designed in a way to “encourage biodiversity and wildlife habitats”.
What sort of homes will there be at the Banchory eco-village?
The development will include a mix of two to five-bedroom detached, semi-detached and terraced properties.
Eight will be affordable units, so you won’t have to be rich to stay there.
Rural Design Architects said that the design of the properties has been “inspired” by the landscape of the area, and surrounding agricultural buildings.
In other words, they look quite like barns.
What else will be there?
There will be playing fields, one full-sized football pitch, and a park and ride facility.
And it’s next to the Woodend Arts Centre, hailed as “one of the most successful” facilities of its kind in Scotland.
Why was the council keen on the idea?
Aberdeenshire Council planners backed the application as it offered “an attractive setting with energy-efficient homes” and a “high quality” design.
Banchory Community Council supported it too, as long as the houses are “of high quality” and there is “quality landscaping”.
What other famous eco villages are there?
Probably Scotland’s most well-known eco-village is a bit further north, at the Findhorn Foundation on the Moray Firth coast.
But there are also “alternative communities” at Scoraig in Wester Ross, Erraid Island in the Inner Hebrides and at the Balkaneil “cradle of creativity” near Durness in Sutherland.
Are more people keen to adopt The Good Life then?
You can see the application for yourself here.