Plans to build a care home as part of a multimillion-pound redevelopment of an old mart site have been scrapped amid flooding fears.
The proposal for the former auction site and waste land at Elgin’s Linkwood Road is the latest to fall by the wayside because of worries properties could be swamped.
A previous bid by supermarket giant Sainsbury’s to build a store on the ground was scrapped because of “complex drainage issues”.
But the developer behind the mart revamp has revealed pub firm Marston’s – which has more than 1,700 branches across the UK – has been lined-up as the operator for a proposed family restaurant at the complex.
ANM Group has lodged plans with Moray Council for the eatery and more than 100 houses – but minus the care home included in its initial scheme.
Work could begin on site before the end of the year if the plans are approved.
Planner John Findlay, from Aberdeen-based agent Ryden, revealed last night there had been no appetite from firms to run the care home.
He said: “It’s really been a choice to take the development in a different direction, but there had also been little developer interest in the care home.
“There have been other issues in terms of the flood risk being much higher for a care home than for a residential development – that clearly made it much more difficult to justify a care home in that location.”
Despite the setback, Mr Findlay insisted the firm was still committed to completing the complex.
Earlier this week Moray Council pressed ahead with plans to draw up solutions to flooding problems in New Elgin Road and Linkwood Road, which both border the site.
External funding is not expected for any works until 2022 at the earliest.
However, officials have stressed smaller solutions will be looked at and the authority’s own budget will be used where possible.
New drawings submitted to the council show the family restaurant at the mart site would be built with car parking spaces on the site of the current auction centre.
A total of 67 two or three-bedroom homes and 34 one or two-bedroom flats make up the rest of the latest vision for the site with a park, open squares and cycle paths included as part of a commitment to retain green space.
Elgin City South councillor John Divers is eager to see measures to combat flooding put in place to make the site as attractive as possible.
He said: “There have been a lot of problems there. That area isn’t known as Springfield for nothing.
“It’s got a high water table and whatever is built in there will have to have some kind of flood prevention to go with it.
“It’s a shame there isn’t going to be a care home because with an ageing population they’re going to become more important in the future.
“The capacity is not bad at the moment, there are no issues with bed blocking, but we need to aware of it for the future.”
Documents submitted with the application explain planners are working with the council, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and Scottish Water to address flooding issues.
Two access roads will be created to lead into the estate from Linkwood Road.
The current auction centre will be knocked down to make way for the new Marston’s restaurant at the Edgar Road roundabout.
Mr Divers added: “It’s good to see national companies taking an interest in Elgin and wanting to come into the area.”
A Marston’s spokeswoman said: “The Elgin site forms part of our Scottish Highland strategy and we look forward to investing in the area.”