Councillors are to make the final call on plans aimed at solving an Aberdeenshire village’s congestion problems.
A full meeting of Aberdeenshire Council later this week will make the final decision on whether a transport interchange should be built at Chapelpark, near Oldmeldrum, as part of a planning application for 35 homes.
Council planning officials are recommending the refusal of the proposal, arguing it is contrary to its 2012 and 2016 Local Development Plans (LDPs).
They also claim that “no exceptional circumstances exist to permit development of this scale in this location”.
However, in June the Formartine area committee recommended granting planning permission in principle for the development as a departure for the LDP, subject to conditions. The decision was progressed by seven votes to three.
The transport interchange will be in the form of a small park and ride with 40 car parking spaces, which, it is hoped, will take the pressure off of busy car parks in the heart of Oldmeldrum.
The council’s director of infrastructure services, Stephen Archer, said approval of the development would “prejudice” neighbouring LDP sites.
However, he added: “With regards to the proposed transport interchange, the council’s transportation team consider the proposal to be acceptable.
“They have confirmed that there is a desire from the local community and the council to develop a mini-interchange in Oldmeldrum to reduce the congestion on the town centre car parks.
“The service has confirmed that independently of this application, the site at Chapelpark has been identified as a preferred location.”
New footpaths will be constructed around at the development, which will also include bicycle storage and involve the widening of the B9170 Inverurie to Methlick road.
A design statement on behalf of the developers, William Lippe Architects, said: “The interchange hub is in response to Aberdeenshire Council’s aspirations to have small local public transport hubs along main commuting corridors to and from Aberdeen.
“The provision of this new facility will deliver a small park and ride facility for Oldmeldrum and its immediate surrounds.
“The location of this hub will allow commuter services to pass through Oldmeldrum without needing to negotiate the historic town centre, therefore minimising any delay to the service.
“The provision of land for the transport interchange, a bus lay by for buses and the associated car parking along with the road widening are real benefits which can be delivered by the development.”