We should be protecting not blighting Bennachie

What are the greatest attractions in the Garioch area? Bennachie is surely right up there.

Bennachie, and its iconic Mither Tap peak, are probably the most iconic of Aberdeenshire’s mountains, widely celebrated in music and poetry.

Development in front of Bennachie

So the current moves by Aberdeenshire Council to establish a Special Landscape Area to maintain and improve the setting of Bennachie, are surely to be applauded. We should protect and enhance it as one of our best assets!

Unfortunately, these moves come at a time when the setting of Bennachie in the landscape is under threat.

There are also plans to build up the hills along the existing A96, which form the foreground to many people’s introduction to Bennachie, as they arrive in the area on the A96.

As plans stand, most of the eastern slope of the hill stretching from Clovenstone to Crichie will be covered by business sheds or housing.

Should we really be building an unsightly business park of large sheds in front of Bennachie?

In the picture above:
  • The pink and red areas are the subject of a current application for extension of the Thainstone Business Park up and across the hillside.
  • The large yellow area is zoned to be developed for housing.

The planning application for the extension to Thainstone Business Park will come before Aberdeenshire Council’s Garioch Area Committee on Tuesday, August 23.

The application seeks approval to build business sheds in both the pink and red areas. This despite the fact that the pink section is zoned as ‘strategic reserve’ and, according to the current Local Development Plan, should not be released for development until 2024-2030.

To approve that now would surely be a breach of the Local Development Plan.

Certainly, most of us would agree, we need to provide employment land and land for housing.

But, it seems disappointing that our council is zoning land for development on hills that are so important to the setting of Bennachie, when there seem to be many suitable alternatives in a less prominent location.

We should be protecting and enhancing the setting for Bennachie, not building business sheds and houses.

Councillors will be visiting Thainstone for a site visit on Tuesday, August 23. If you want to meet them they will be arriving at the Porterhouse Restaurant in Thainstone at 9.15am.

The Thainstone Business Park application will then be discussed at Aberdeenshire Council’s Garioch Area Committee in the Council Chamber at Gordon House, Blackhall Road, Inverurie AB51 3WA, starting at 10.15 am. The meeting is open to the public, so if you are interested you should attend.

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