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Fears new Crathie house ‘could disturb Deeside adders’ – and send them into nearby homes

There are also concerns the proposal for Greystone, on the road from Aberdeen to Balmoral, might spoil tourists' enjoyment of the scenic area.

There are fears Deeside adders could have their habitat "destroyed"...
There are fears Deeside adders could have their habitat "destroyed"... Image: Clarke Cooper/Google Maps

Deeside adders could be disturbed by a new home, a Sauchen auction house might become a health clinic and there are fears extra houses could spoil the seaside charm of Sandend.

All these and more feature in this week’s Planning Ahead, our weekly round-up of the latest proposals being pondered across the north-east.

Every week we bring readers a selection of the most interesting applications submitted to our councils in a bid to form changes big and small in our communities.

We begin our latest instalment with plans for a futuristic form of healthcare…

The Iceman Cometh – to Westhill business park

It may sound like something from a 1990s sci-fi movie (think of Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr Freeze in Batman and Robin, or Sylvester Stallone’s frozen cop in Demolition Man…) but cryogenic freezing has made it from fantasy into reality.

And now it could be taking over a former office in Westhill.

Cryotherapy is the practice of using freezing temperatures to treat tissue problems, and usually involves sitting in a chilly booth for a few minutes.

It can be used to freeze off warts or even cancer cells, and is used to treat mental health conditions like anxiety and depression.

Invented in Japan, it has become more popular since being endorsed by big names like Cristiano Ronaldo, Daniel Craig and Scotland’s own Andy Murray.

It will occupy a space at a Westhill base for businesses. Image: Denny Andonova/DC Thomson

Now, Alan Webster wants to turn an office at Arnhall Business Park to a cryotherapy facility and hairdresser.

Mr Webster previously launched the CryoZest venture at the town’s at Kingshill Commercial Park.

The venture had been “four years in the planning”.

Will nine new houses destroy ‘quaint wee village’?

Living on the north-east coastline can be freezing at times too, and these new housing plans are already getting the cold shoulder from neighbours…

Developers want to erect nine new houses between Portsoy and Cullen.

Sandend is along a scenic stretch of coastline. Image: 191 Architecture

Bob Milton Properties, which is based in Fochabers, is behind the scheme at Seaview Road in Sandend.

Architects say the homes were inspired by the traditional gable ends at the village’s 17th century harbour.

Design images show how the houses would be positioned to enjoy views across the bay. Image: 191 Architecture
Here is how the nine homes would be spread out. Image: 191 Architecture

Neighbours have lodged objections based on the expected increase in traffic and worries about badger habitat being affected.

And a petition has been launched claiming the nine homes will “destroy the fishing village”.

It states: “This proposal will completely overlook and dominate our quaint wee village.”

The picturesque Sandend. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

Aberdeen engineering firm needs more space

Engineering firm Trac International is keen to expand its base at Thistle Road in Dyce.

The company operates in offshore and onshore energy across the UK, and all over the world, from its HQ in the Aberdeen suburb.

The Trac base on the outskirts of the city. Image: Google Earth

Papers sent to the council explain that it needs more space

They state: “The pressure on our current stores and workshop space has become extremally tight and we are struggling for adequate private meeting and storage space.”

The road here could be built over. Image: Google Earth

So they want to build a new structure on the road next to the building, with its own garage workshop, accessible toilet, meeting space, storage room and shower.

Bosses say the road is a private one, with “no public use”.

New Craigshaw Road car dealership progresses

Plans for a Seat Cupra warehouse at the former Original 106 base on Craigshaw Road in Tullos are being driven forward.

The former radio station. Image: Ben Hendry/DC Thomson

Last year, the council approved the demolition of the former radio station there to make way for the new development.

You can read more about the plans, and take a look back at the storied premises, in our round-up from the time.

How the new building would look. Image: Brand Twenty Two

And now, applicants John Clark have submitted proposals for illuminated signage as the scheme moves forward.

What next for closed Cruden Bay healing centre?

The TARDES self-healing centre in Cruden Bay could be turned into storage space by applicant Mr J Kensett.

This site at 29 Golf Road has been advertised for sale under a “range of uses”.

The Cruden Bay building. Image: Google Maps

The health clinic is now based in Fraserburgh, with the building left vacant.

Sauchen auction house could become health clinic

Dr Rhoda Mackenzie is an expert in age reversal therapies, based in Monymusk near Inverurie.

She has specialised in the field for about 20 years.

The former auction house could be given a new lease of life. Image: Google Maps

Building papers now indicate that she aims to spend £28,000 converting a former auction house in Sauchen into a clinic.

The Main Street premises closed as an auction house two years ago, with the owners blaming a “change of work and family life”.

Chapelton nursery expansion approved despite complaints

In the developing new town of Chapelton, near Stonehaven, a nursery has been given permission to expand despite complaints from neighbours.

The former Hume Square home of The Lounge beauty parlour will be converted to provide more playrooms, a training area and sleeping room.

Planning Ahead featured the expansion scheme for The Croft back in February.

Chapelton, near Aberdeen.
The developing Chapelton community. Image: Liquorice Media

Since that time, residents have had the chance to let Aberdeenshire Council know their views…

Some, like Brenda Esslemont from Inverbervie, hailed the idea as “great for the nursery”.

Adam Robins said the expansion plans should be supported, and Hazel Meek said the extension to provide a “dedicated sleeping area for babies “would be greatly beneficial”.

The Croft Nurseries building in the heart of Chapelton. Image: Google Maps

Why were some against the expansion?

But Leslie Staite, who lives nearby on Bunting Place, argued that the facility was becoming too big.

She said: “Hume Square was intended as the ‘hub’ for the whole community, and not just a location for a huge private nursery – now larger than many local primary schools.

“Will Hume Square be able to cope with the extra pressure on parking – causing further frustration for residents?”

Neighbour unhappy about children playing on green

Elizabeth Barkes lodged a letter of objection too, complaining about children playing on the village green.

She said: “Currently, the nursery uses the Hume Square green for outside activities, despite this green being intended as a communal area, not as an extension to the nursery outside space.

“Residents should be able to enjoy Hume Square for what it was originally designed for, residential use.”

It would take up a site once used by The Lounge salon. Image: Google Maps

The resident also said noise from children playing and “screaming/crying” can sometimes be too much.

What did Aberdeenshire Council say about it?

Planning chiefs responded to say that public open space is “available for use by all members of the public”, and deemed the expanded nursery “compatible” with the surrounding area.

The Croft has been given permission to expand. Image: Google Maps

Leaky windows at Aberdeen primary school

Historians have given their blessing to plans to replace leaky windows at Tullos Primary School in the Torry area of Aberdeen.

The 74-year-old school is B-listed as a “good example of modernist architecture”.

Tullos Primary School
Tullos Primary School in Torry. Image: DC Thomson

Surveys explained how the windows were broken, allowed water ingress and let in a draught – with large curtains put up to keep out the chill.

More modern replacements will be installed.

Last year, the council was given permission to remove an unsafe canopy at the school.

Fears new home at Crathie could disturb Deeside adders

The Invercauld Estate wants to create a new home over the footprint of an ancient ruin a few miles from the entrance to Balmoral.

Plans have been lodged for Greystone, at Crathie, on a patch of hillside described as “unused rough ground”.

The location of the proposed development. Image: Google Maps

Architects explain how it would be powered by renewable energy, highly insulated and make use of solar water heating.

There would be EV charging in the proposed garage too.

The design team adds that it has been “inspired by the local vernacular”, with an “aesthetic that is common throughout the wider surrounding areas”.

Here is how the three-bedroom home would look. Image: Gerry Robb architects

However, several neighbours are calling for Aberdeenshire Council to reject the scheme – with concerns about the impact on snakes and royal fans.

Who is against it, and why?

Neighbour Duncan Stephen says the new home would “destroy a large known colony of adders”, while also castigating the design.

He adds: “This proposed design is poorly designed, detrimental to the amenity of the
surrounding area which is very popular tourist area because of the amenity of the area.

“It would sit like a large carbuncle on the hillside.”

The A93 between Ballater and Braemar. Image: Google Maps

The objector adds: “The vista from coming out of the trees at Crathie or from Coilacreich is very special. It is an early to mid Victorian landscape which has no modern housing material influences. This should be preserved.”

He also blasts the “influx of house buyers” who are “only interested in snapping up properties as a second home” in the scenic area.

‘Where we live, we need to be careful not to stand on Deeside adders’

Noreen Stephen, who lives next door at Greystone, says common lizards and slow worms are also seen at the spot known for its adder population.

She states: “Adders are seen very regularly in this location, basking in among the ruins and the bracken on the south-facing slopes in the spring

“My dog has been bitten in our garden by an adder in the past, and I now have some pre-prescribed steroids from the vet to protect our dog.

“We must be careful in our garden, particularly in late spring, to avoid standing on an adder.”

It’s claimed the land is perfect for adders. Image: Google Maps
An adder slithering around Assynt. Image: Andy Summers.

Would development send adders towards other properties?

The neighbour is worried the “destruction” of their habitat could send the serpents slithering towards properties like hers – where they could “come into contact with humans”.

She adds: “Adders are in significant decline, primarily due to human impacts such as habitat loss, illegal persecution, disturbance, or inappropriate management.”

An adder snapped at a nearby loch. Image: Gillian Cassie

Murray McConachie, from Aberdeen, says he “often pauses” at this spot on trips into the countryside – just to “take in the scene”.

His letter of objection states: “This house would be a very regrettable development

Thomas Shannon from Tullynessle agrees that the “well known beauty spot” would be “permanently degraded”.

The new home would be built on the hillside. Image: Google Maps

Could troubled water supply get worse at rural spot?

And another neighbour, Rebecca Wilkinson, voices fears that an added home in the area would reduce an already troubled water supply to little more than a trickle.

She explains that her nearby home has run out of water twice in the last three years during the summer.

When it returned, the pressure was “extremely poor” and the water was “dirty” for 10 days.

The site is next to the River Dee, which is sometimes left dry in the summer months. Image: Google Maps

The Deeside resident says the current supply is “inadequate” for the houses there as it is.

And she fears that an extra family home could leave her “without basic water pressure and without a water supply at all”.

However, a water quantity report submitted alongside the plans argued there was a “more than adequate” supply.

Modern home could ‘spoil enjoyment’ of tranquil spot

Charlotte Miller, from Alford, worries that any such modern development could affect how tourists feel about the rugged Deeside site.

Her letter to planning chiefs references the increasing number of tourists being bussed to Balmoral since cruise ships started docking in Aberdeen last year.

Balmoral Castle. Image: Shutterstock

What do you think of the plans for the new home? Let us know in our comments section below

She adds: “Recently Balmoral has opened up its rooms for the first time.

“This will boost tourism in the area along the route of this development proposal.

“Therefore, the bar is very high in terms of building character and protection, as it is representative of the area to those visitors.”

The letter also mentions the popularity of salmon fishing on this stretch of the Dee:

The letter continues: “This house would look directly over these scenes. This may
impact the enjoyment and therefore businesses that rely on this trade.

“We urge building control to strike this application out and put the locals of Greystone on an equal footing to this estate.”

The council is requesting more studies take place on how the project could affect local reptiles.

You can see the plans yourself here:

Westhill cryotherapy proposal

Sandend homes row

Engineering firm’s new structure

Craigshaw Road plans

Cruden Bay centre

Sauchen auction house 

Chapelton nursery expanding

Tullos Primary School windows

Deeside adders row over Crathie home plans