Councillors have rejected plans for 400 homes next to a Deeside beauty spot.
Members of Aberdeenshire’s Marr area committee said the proposed development at Braehead, Auchattie, at the south end of Banchory, would create “lasting, irreversible damage” to the local area.
The plans from Turriff-based Sandlaw Farming – for 300 rented homes, 75 affordable homes and 25 assisted-living apartments, ranging from one-bedroom flats to five-bedroom houses – will now go to the full council for consideration.
Council officers had recommended the refusal of the application due to the potential impact on local wildlife and landscape, and the site’s proximity to the River Dee.
Almost 500 objections were lodged against the plans, which also included a Banchory Medical Centre and a new centre for the Deeside Way.
Banchory councillor Karen Clark said the proposed scheme, next to the Scolty woodlands, could have “lasting, irreversible damage” on the local area and its approval would “make a mockery of the planning process”.
Fellow Banchory councillor, Provost Jill Webster, declared it the “absolute worst” place for a development.
Spokesman for the Scolty Redevelopment protest group, Mike Adams, said the decision to reject the plans echoed the views of the planning department.
He added: “The committee have asked that further reasons for refusal be added to the report. These included conditions concerning the negative impact on local schools, tourism and safe routes to school.
“This would be the wrong development in the wrong place and we hope the full council also supports the view of the planning department to refuse planning permission when they vote in June.”
Sandlaw Farming development consultant Ken Ross said the firm was not defeated yet, and insisted the development was needed to bring affordable housing to some of the 15,000 people on Aberdeenshire Council’s waiting list.
“The decision was not unexpected. It is another step in a planning process that has some way to go,” he said.
“Aberdeenshire Council has no allocations in its development plans for this type of urgently-needed housing.”