Controversial plans for a quarry have been backed by councillors, despite road safety concerns.
Neil Murray Housebuilders Ltd applied to change the use of their land at Westside of Forglen, Hillhead of Mountblairy, to the east of Aberchirder.
The current builders yard has over 2,000 tonnes of mineable stone and soil, which the company want to use as building materials.
Council planners recommended that the application be refused, with local residents raising concerns that that the single track country road leading to 11 homes was not suitable for lorries.
But yesterday members of the Banff and Buchan area committee approved the scheme six votes to three. It will now be passed to the infrastructure services committee for a final decision.
Supporting councillors felt that road use would be better controlled as a result of the scheme, as it would restrict the number and type of vehicles visiting the site.
Councillor John Cox said: “This is an application to change the use of the land and no objections actually relate to the land use but are about road safety.
“If we don’t pass this there’s going to be no restriction on the size, number or type of lorries on the road.”
Kimberely Murray, of Neil Murray Housebuilders, said afterwards: “I’m happy with the decision but I feel like it shouldn’t go to the ISC.
“I felt positive going in as we’ve done everything the planning department have asked for.
“We have 30 employees and have recently had to set up CCTV to protect from people trespassing on our property to see what we are doing.
“If the application doesn’t go through then we would have to get external suppliers but this means different drivers with less knowledge of the road transporting the materials.”
During the debate, councillors heard from objectors who highlighted concerns about livestock and the handful of children who live on that road.
One resident even broke down in tears when describing her “frightening” experience ushering sheep along the track with “abusive” vehicle pressure.
Councillor Mark Findlater said: “This should be refused because this is a private residential area and the passing places along the road, as the road officer said, are not capable of handling these 6 or 8 wheel lorries.”
However, councillors considered that no accidents had been reported on the road and voted to approve it.
Afterwards Jim Bayne, secretary of Alvah and Forglen community council, said he was disappointed at the decision, adding: “There shouldn’t have to be an accident before it means the road is a risk.
“The councillors have completely ignored the planning recommendations, none of them came to view the site and I think we have an opportunity at the ISC to protect the community along this small country road.”