An £80m plan to transform a country estate with 90 new homes and an elite golf course designed by champion Jack Nicklaus has taken a major step forward amid a promise of 200 new jobs and an economic boom for Aberdeenshire.
The developers behind the Ury Estate proposals lodged a formal planning application yesterday, taking years of negotiations over the prime site to the next stage.
It comes as an independent report concluded that the golf course and housing development will inject £55.5million into the Aberdeenshire economy over a 15-year period and create 200 new jobs.
The latest proposals are key to the regeneration of the wider estate, including the Ury House which currently lies in ruins.
The ultimate plan is to turn the B-listed property into a luxury hotel and clubhouse and create a mix of affordable and luxury housing in landscaped grounds.
The latest significant move towards a new future for Ury Estate has been welcomed by the community.
Douglas Samways, chairman of Stonehaven Town Partnership, said: “The idea of improved leisure facilities like a golf course is something to be supported.
“Obviously anything that assists in the restoration of Ury House – which is a decrepit eyesore at the moment – is something to be welcomed.”
Previously, Aberdeenshire Council has given planning consent to FM Group to build 230 homes, which would help fund the renovation of the house.
A further 84 homes have also been approved, which will be built at East Lodge.
Stonehaven and Lower Deeside Raymond Christie is pleased the restoration plans for the mansion house are on track.
He added: “Generally speaking, if Ury House can be tidied up from the ruin it is at the moment I would be supportive, and I think everybody would be.
“I’m certainly in favour of it being returned to its former glory.”
The economic report was carried out by consultants EKOS and commissioned by developers FM Group.
FM Group said its development will help put Stonehaven “on the map”.
Jonathon Milne, director of the company, said: “This much-anticipated and highly welcomed golf development stalled during the recession but is now fully back on track and, if it proceeds, will really put Stonehaven on the map, attracting tourists and boosting business in the town. It is the final piece in the jigsaw for the Ury Estate development and an intrinsic part of the overall viability of the estate.
“We are pleased that the EKOS report supports our vision for Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire and indeed Scotland with the findings revealing that the net additional gross value added for the Scottish economy could be as much as £95million.
“There has been universal agreement that the redevelopment of Ury Estate with the golf course and hotel will be a major coup for Stonehaven. To make it a reality, the economics have to stack up and we require the proposed 90 homes to fund the golf course as well as the Mansion House hotel and link road.
“Essentially, the homes are the enabler for the development – without them we cannot deliver the golf course and the subsequent economic spin-off for the region.”
The planning application is expected to go before the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee in May or June.