03 September 2019

Formartine Area Committee to ask full council to consider matters related to Menie application

Councillors met in Ellon today (Tue, Sep 3) for the latest stage of consideration of an application to further develop the Menie estate, near Balmedie.

The proposed development by Trump International Golf Links Ltd is to build 550 homes (a mixture of residential units with a minimum of 50 leisure/resort units), alongside community facilities, shops, offices, food and drink, landscaping and supporting infrastructure.

A site visit and pre-determination hearing was held last year and the application was originally presented to the Formartine Area Committee back in March, at which point the committee had a range of views; some in favour and some against the application. Further information was also requested from the applicant.

The application would next have been considered at a full meeting of Aberdeenshire Council, but a decision was taken to refer it back to the area committee today to present members with all outstanding information now received as part of the process.

As such, the committee was today asked to provide preliminary views to the full council for its consideration when determining the application, and to note the recommendation to delegate approval of planning permission subject to a number of related matters.

Following an update from the planning service and questions from councillors, the committee agreed that it was not able to reach a view on the application but would ask the full meeting of Aberdeenshire Council to consider:

• The impact of the application on the community of Balmedie due to the lack of a grade-separated junction north of Balmedie
• The lack of clarity in terms of education provision
• The application’s departure from the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan; its departure from the phasing initially outlined in the application; and the extent to which the departures are justified

Earlier in the meeting, Cllr Paul Johnston proposed that the committee should not accept the planning permission in principle for the development, arguing that it would be premature to do so before matters relating to phasing, education and the provision of a grade-separated juiction were resolved. He added that planning permission should adhere to the Local Development Plan.

The motion was not seconded and therefore not taken forward. Cllr Johnston recorded his dissent.

This committee’s agreed position, as outlined above, will now be presented when the application comes before a full meeting of Aberdeenshire Council – currently expected to be the meeting of Thursday, September 26.

Speaking after the meeting, Formartine Area Committee chair Cllr Isobel Davidson explained: “It was clear that the committee would not be able to reach a consensus on whether or not to support the application but we were agreed that there were some key matters we want the full council to consider when the application is determined.

“The matters we have identified should, we hope, aid and inform the discussion that will be held by the full council.”