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Fears for wildlife as 250-home Peterculter expansion plans are lodged

Locals are worried the development could harm wildlife.

Plans for a Peterculter population explosion could spell disaster for local wildlife, according to nature experts.

First Endeavour LLP wants to build 250 homes in the north of the community.

Bosses describe the development as an “attractive extension” to the village on the outskirts of Aberdeen.

The firm has now officially lodged the proposals first announced nearly two years ago.

Project leaders insist local woodland will be incorporated in the design, with “natural assets” being conserved.

But feedback forms completed by locals reveal that they have some way to go to win over hearts and minds.

Where would new Peterculter homes be built?

The houses would border Bucklerburn Road and the B979 Malcolm Road, on land occupied by the Tillyoch Equestrian Centre at present.

Documents lodged by architects Halliday Fraser Munro say the “pockets” of housing will be “carefully placed” around existing areas of ancient woodland.

The statement adds: “The vision for Tillyoch is to create an opportunity for a new sustainable development, a mixed-use community that respects the existing urban
pattern of Peterculter and its natural woodland setting.”

This aerial image shows how the development would extend across fields next to ancient woodland.

What are the proposed benefits?

The architects also say the layout was formed following several studies – including on “environmental robustness”.

It has also been designed “sustainably”, meaning future residents will easily be able to cycle or get the bus into Aberdeen rather than relying on cars.

Developers say the plot would be able to accommodate a variety of house types.

An impression of how some of the homes could look.

First Endeavour already has plans for blocks of four homes, terraces, and detached and semi-detached properties in mind.

Various stables, paddocks, a house and the Tillyoch Pet Hotel will all be knocked down.

Why are their fears for nature?

Developers commissioned a study on the surrounding species as they worked on the blueprints for Tillyoch.

It found there are a “number of priority habitats” there for animals including the endangered red squirrel.

There are also records of badgers and bats within 2km of the site.

What are locals saying about the new Peterculter homes?

For a development of this scale, some local consultation was carried out even before the plans were lodged with Aberdeen City Council this week.

Many of the complaints referenced local wildlife.

Pine hoverflies are critically endangered. Picture supplied by RZSS

One concerned contributor said: “As an ecologist, I have recorded butterflies, moths, dragonflies and damselflies, hoverflies, lichens, mosses and plants in this area for the past 15 years.

“I can confirm that, together, the Peterculter Local Nature Conservation Site and surrounding woodlands form a single ecological unit between which species move freely.

“The high biodiversity value of these woodlands would be disproportionately negatively affected if the woods were fragmented through housing development.”

Another concept design shows how parts of the development would be laid out.

‘Humans ruin nature by interfering’

Another local, who has lived next to a proposed “core path” for two years said he had been “in awe” of the wildlife there.

They said bats “fly around their house daily”, while they have also spotted badgers, foxes, hedgehogs, red kites, frogs and toads.

The nature enthusiast asked: “Where will they find food if the fields are lost?”

“The natural woodland would be best left untouched.

“Recent reports prove time and again that humans upset the natural habitat by interfering.”

Badgers could “struggle to find food” if the new Peterculter homes go ahead. Photo by Peter Lewis/Solent News/Shutterstock

One questioned the lack of shopping facilities attached to the sizeable development.

And they argued that more homes should be built in Aberdeen city centre rather than on greenbelt land.

A concerned resident said traffic was already a danger in the area, warning “there will be deaths” if traffic gets much busier.

Another claimed that traffic studies were not accurate as they were conducted during lockdown, when office staff were working from home.

What happens next?

People can have their say until Wednesday, December 29.

Feedback from residents and public bodies will later be considered by the local authority.

You can click here to support or oppose the plans.