A Buddhist monastery, complete with a meditation garden, could be created within the north-east countryside.
But a number of locals have objected to plans to establish the Varapunya Meditation Centre at Kinmundy, between Westhill and Kingswells.
Aberdeenshire Council’s Garioch area committee is being asked to back proposals this week to transform Easter Mains Cottage into a monastic getaway.
The centre, run by volunteers, is dedicated to the teachings within the Theravada tradition of Buddhism and has been running from Aberdeen’s Constitution Street for the last three years.
The plans include the creation of gardens and a woodlands area featuring grass paths, shrubs, flower beds and a vegetable patch. Summerhouses and a number of parking spaces would also be included within the development.
The proposals are part retrospective, with the house already in use as a meditation centre.
It would be the permanent residence of Venerable Sujan, with meditation classes being run several days a week, along with daily chanting sessions.
A network of grassed paths would weave through the woodlands and the garden.
Yesterday, he said: “Our main priority is to provide somewhere to learn mindfulness, we want to teach how to practice it amidst the stresses of daily life.
“At the moment, we offer three evening classes and have had around six people at each one, which is less than the numbers we had when we were in town.
“Being able to offer a residential retreat for up to six people will take away the need to get transport out here and will open up our centre to a wider audience.”
A supporting statement from the centre added: “This site was chosen because it provided the large area of land required for the meditation garden in a countryside setting, that provides a calm and peaceful environment required for mindfulness meditation.”
However 11 local residents have written to the local authority to object to the scheme, raising concerns about a potential increase in traffic on the access road to the retreat.
One neighbour said: “Our objection to this application is strongly centred on the effect to the infrastructure a change in use of a property, designed to accommodate a small family to one that is to accommodate the comings and goings of a large community, with the expectation of need for 30 car parking spaces, will have.”
The site lies within the Aberdeen greenbelt, but council planners are arguing the proposals would “not be detrimental” to council policy.
Director of infrastructure services at the council, Stephen Archer, said: “The change of use to garden ground and proposed planting will alter the character of the existing open field, but is considered to have no negative impact on the landscape setting.
“The proposal does not comply with the greenbelt policy, but it is considered the low impact nature of the proposal would not be detrimental to the role or function of the greenbelt.”