Residents last night heard the case for an 18-hole golf course designed by golfing legend Jack Nicklaus and a separate supermarket development on the edge of a north-east town.
Stonehaven locals were invited to the pre-consultation meetings on the proposals by the FM Group for the golf course plus 90 homes as part of the £80million Ury Estate development; and plans by the Sluie Estate Trust for a supermarket at the New Mains of Ury.
The developers behind the Ury Estate said the homes in land at North Lodge – which are not allocated within the local development plan (LDP) – are necessary to fund the delivery of the overall golf resort.
However attendees heard that the FM Group are yet to resolve outstanding objections from Aberdeenshire Council’s roads, infrastructure, flood prevention and environment teams – along with concerns for their impact on ancient woodlands from the Forestry Commission.
Both developments were considered contrary to the LDP and will be determined by a full meeting of Aberdeenshire Council at a later stage.
Speaking last night council planning officer, Neil Mair, said the outstanding objections could be resolved, whilst the developer said the proposals could bring about 200 jobs and millions of pounds to the local economy through major golfing tournaments.
FM Group director Jonathon Milne said this application was the “long awaited final piece of the development”, adding: “It has been designed by Jack Nicklaus after several site visits. Two-hundred jobs will be created, it will bring £55million to the local community.
“A Ryder Cup type event could be held at Ury.”
The architect behind the plans, Derek Pirouet, said the development had “overriding social and economic benefits to Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire and indeed the north-east of Scotland”.
He added: “Unfortunately we have had extensive discussions with the Forestry Commission, who are very strong in their insistence. Whilst we accept that their interpretation has to stand we have been working closely with our ecologist and the Forestry Commission to allow mitigation on the woodlands.”
Mr Mair said the council was looking into resolving the issues around the woodlands – which date back some 140 years – by soil relocation and replanting.
He added: “The 90 houses are required to enable the development within the estate. The house types are all five bedroom properties. Discussions have been held about relocating some of the woodlands. This is the only real option.
“Some of these negatives can be potentially mitigated. There is potential job creation in Stonehaven as well, and the enhancement of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’s growing reputation as a golfing destination.
“Full council members will be asked to weigh up all these issues and whether the benefits outweigh the negatives.”
He added supporting the redevelopment of the historic Ury House – which is being brought back into use as a clubhouse and boutique hotel at the heart of the golf resort – “is certainly a positive thing”.
Vice-chairman of the Stonehaven and District Community Council, Phil Mills-Bishop, said: “We do have concerns and we have worked with the Ury team to allay these concerns. It is not in the proposed 2016 LDP.
“Pretty obviously there is a pretty big economic benefit for Stonehaven.
“The community council does have concerns about the potential flood impact issue. And we do have concerns about the growing complexity of traffic in and out of the estate.”
He added the group was in discussions with the FM Group to resolve the potential impact of the development on the overcapacity Dunnottar Primary – with the developer offering up land for a replacement.