Councillors asked to get behind plans for travellers site in north-east woodlands

The proposed site in Kemnay.

Councillors are being asked to support proposals for a controversial travellers site in a north-east woodland.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Garioch area committee will meet to debate an application for a seven-pitch caravan park for the gypsy-traveller community at Quarry Wood, near Kemnay on Tuesday.

The plans have been submitted by George Stewart through his agent, Alan Seath Planning Consultancy.

The local authority’s planning service has recommended the application be granted, subject to a number of conditions.

However the committee is only being asked to comment on the proposals, as the full council will make a final decision.

The application, which is part retrospective, has garnered at total of 42 objections and five letters of support.

The planned caravan park would include permanent stances for mobile homes and chalets, touring pitches, parking, a utility building and an access road.

The council has previously taken enforcement action at the site following complaints of tree felling and alleged development work.

Earlier this year, the council agreed to progress with drawing up a planning application for a stopover site at Aikey Brae, near Old Deer.

Local authority plans for sites at Ellon, Thainstone and Laurencekirk have all been discarded.

In a report, senior council planner, Bruce Strachan, said the council has failed to meet its target for the development of travellers site in recent years.

He added: “The Aberdeenshire gypsy-traveller site provision strategy focuses on council sites, but there is a recognition that private sites should also be considered to meet the accommodation needs from the travelling community wishing to reside and travel through Aberdeenshire.

“Having assessed the proposal against the development plan it is considered that, with the exception of rural development and the treatment of the woodland, the application accords with key policy requirements.

“In particular, each criterion for gypsy-traveller sites has been met, the layout and design is considered appropriate and potential for using the site as a base for working is acceptable within normal limits.

“Technical matters around protected species, flooding and drainage, access, waste and contaminated land have all been resolved, or are capable of being conditioned.”