A Portlethen traveller site has been backed by councillors despite 167 objections from locals worried about noise and dogs roaming loose.
Aberdeenshire Council is considering plans to change the use of recreational land at Findon Park in Portlethen to a permanent caravan park for gypsy travellers.
The scheme includes the creation of five caravan pitches, each with an associated shed and a separate domestic kennel block, which are already on site.
It’s also proposed that all existing buildings on site will be demolished with the exception of the smaller toilet and water tank block.
It has now been given the blessing of Kincardine and Mearns councillors, before a final decision to be made by all elected members.
167 objections to the plans
This came despite a total of 167 objections from the public.
17 people supported the move, recognising the need for traveller sites of this nature within Aberdeenshire.
But some members of the public shared their concerns over the grounds becoming a private caravan site.
These objections included a lack of waste provision, water supply and drainage concerns, a loss of football pitch for the local community and amenity concerns.
N Mcconnachie raised multiple issues.
She said: “A peaceful, green belt area turned into a noisy, messy eyesore instantly. This should be objected to for numerous reasons.
“The title deeds for the Findon football pitch state the land is for recreational use only and that no one can reside on this land.
“The roads layout is not designed for heavy, constant flow of traffic that will have to slow down to enter/exit this development, causing a danger to road users and walkers/cyclists.
“There is no lighting, paving and no safe walking paths around this area, therefore making it unsafe to connect with facilities in the near villages”.
Patricia Davie was another to object.
“Totally against this. The noise already is ridiculous,” she said.
“The area could be used for local children’s sports as it’s equipped already and just requires some maintenance, this is more needed in the community instead of a travellers site”.
Karen Mair also raised fears over noise disturbance in the area.
“I object to this due to the amount of noise and disturbance that will be created by people living there,” she said.
“It is a disruption to locals and is going to cause an increase in traffic also adding to noise disruption. Visually it will look bad too, putting people off of the area.”
‘Totally against this’
Councillors got the chance to comment on the plans during a recent Kincardine and Mearns area committee meeting.
Although a few councillors raised some issues over the grounds becoming a permanent site for travellers, most were in agreement.
There were six votes in approval of the plans while four voted against it.
Councillor Mel Sullivan raised some questions around environmental health aspects as she noted that the stances are within 50m of a former landfill – a location potentially at risk from migrating ground gas.
In response, it was explained that the plans include boarding around the base of the caravans to ensure that the risk from ground gas to the caravans and their occupants is reduced.
Councillor Catherine Victoria said: “The issue is it is a green field site and we want it kept that way. If at some point in the future we can transform it back into a football pitch, we would like to do that”.
Further information can be found on Aberdeenshire Council’s website here.