North-east councillors have given their backing to proposals to build a business park which could bring dozens of new jobs to the region’s biggest village.
Members of the Buchan area committee met yesterday to consider granting planning in principle for the Northwoods Eco Business Park on the northern boundary of Mintlaw.
The scheme includes land for a new Aberdeenshire Council roads department and recycling centre as well as a new headquarters for applicants Colaren Homes.
The firm, which is currently based in Fraserburgh, is proposing to build a timber house-kit manufacturing facility at the Balring Road site – an operation which could create 10 new full-time staff.
Several smaller industrial units will also be made available for firms to rent. In total, as many as 70 people could be employed at the business park.
Addressing the committee at Buchan House in Peterhead, Colaren’s land manager, Gary Purves, declared: “I think we have got unique circumstances for this development. The two end users – Aberdeenshire Council and Colaren Homes – have said Northwoods is the only suitable site.
“It’s good for Aberdeenshire Council, it has the potential to create jobs and is a significant investment in Mintlaw.”
Objector and local resident Fiona Pringle also addressed the committee, warning that the development would “undoubtedly” increase traffic in the area and the already busy centre of the village.
She added that, although fresh employment would be a boost to Buchan, many of the proposed jobs would be relocating from other sites, rather than employing locals.
But despite her objection and those of two other people, councillors overwhelmingly backed the prospect of new jobs for central Buchan.
Mintlaw member Jim Ingram said: “This is the largest village in Aberdeenshire – it’s the same size as some towns – and there’s a crying need for business development to be given the green light.”
Mr Ingram also called for more information on the impact the development would have on surrounding roads.
Peterhead councillor Alan Buchan added: “We have to have some forward thinking and bring some jobs to Aberdeenshire.”
The committee unanimously gave their backing to the scheme, which will now be referred to the local authority’s infrastructure committee for a final decision.