Planning officials have joined hundreds of residents in opposing a 400-home development proposed for the foot of an iconic Deeside hill.
Aberdeenshire Council officers have recommended refusal of the plans for a development near Scolty Hill at Braehead, south of Banchory.
The proposals, which will be considered at a meeting of the Marr area committee next Tuesday, have encountered resistance from locals with almost 500 objections lodged with the local authority.
Turriff-based Sandlaw Farming wants to build 300 rented homes, 75 affordable homes and 25 assisted-living apartments at the site, along with a Banchory Medical Centre and a base for the Deeside Way.
In a report to the committee, the council’s director of infrastructure services Stephen Archer, warns the scheme would be damaging to the area.
He said: “The 2016 Local Development Plan does not propose any additional major new development allocations and states that the importance to the community of the area to the south side of the River Dee must be recognised.
“Due to its scale and location on the south bank of the River Dee the proposal will have a detrimental impact on the existing landscape character and setting of Banchory.”
Residents had their say on the plans during a pre-determination meeting at Hill of Banchory Primary School last week.
One local labelled it “the wrong development in the wrong place” while concerns were raised about the impact on roads and wildlife.
Last night Sandlaw Farming spokesman Colin Lidell said: “We understand why the council will take this line, their report continues to be full of inaccuracies and we hope we will have an opportunity to speak at the meeting.
“This is about people who can’t get houses in Aberdeenshire.
“It is all very well to have a local development plan that looks nice on paper but this is about need and the opportunity to provide houses for those people here.”
Aberdeenshire Council currently has about 15,000 people on its waiting list for housing.
Of this number, more than 1,200 are in Marr and 400 are in Banchory.
Plans for another 400 homes in the north of Banchory will also be discussed by the Marr area committee next week.
Bancon Group is seeking planning permission in principle for 390 homes at its Lochside of Leys development, at Hill of Banchory.
Of these, 345 houses are planned for two locations on either side of the Loch of Leys nature conservation site, and another 50 in the Upper Lochton area, off Raemoir Road.
Council officials have recommended that the plans be approved by councillors subject to conditions.