Concerns voiced over Thainstone developments

Since the Scottish Government Reporter overturned the decision of Aberdeenshire Council’s Garioch Area Committee to refuse the application to expand the Thainstone Business Park up Thainstone Hill, details of landscaping and the new Scotbeef slaughterhouse have been put forward.

This area is within the boundaries of Kintore and District Community Council.

Thainstone and Crichie developments

Among those concerned that the eastern slopes of Thainstone (left of Bennachie in the above picture) and Shaw Hill (to the right in the above picture), will be covered with commercial and housing development is Dr Paul Davison.

Bennachie has been described by the National Geographic Society as potentially ‘Britain’s most-loved hill’, so its landscape setting is clearly of national significance.

“The Garioch Area Committee recently granted planning permission in principle for the Crichie development of 737 houses and industrial estate next door on Shaw Hill,” says Dr Davison. “So the introduction to Inverurie for travellers on the main road will be to have the high ground along the A96 full of warehouse units, storage yards and houses.”

He points to two issues which, he says, remain unresolved:

  • In 2011 in the approval process for the 2012 Local Development plan the council stated that a flyover was essential to allow the first part of the Crichie and the Thainstone developments to go ahead. Dr Davison is alarmed that both developments appear to be going ahead without any further modifications to the A96 to reduce congestion.
  • He states that Planning permission for the Thainstone Business Park has been granted without an environmental impact assessment, or a screening opinion or direction.

Dr Davison adds that two new planning application have now been submitted without addressing these outstanding issues.

“In 1998, the only previous landscape study vetoed any development higher up the hill the current business park,” Dr Davison points out. “The current plans for landscaping eight-metre high buildings on fields, on a hillside you can see for miles along the valley is to ‘utilise local native species of local provenance and where suitable consist of a mix of trees, shrubs, hedges, wildflowers and incorporate suitable grass seed mixtures’.

“The impact on the landscape can not be mitigated by shrubs and hedges. A proper landscape and visual impact assessment (LVIA) needs to be made as part of the environmental impact assessment. Once the fields are concreted over, the landscape with Bennachie in the background will be ruined forever.

“We desperately need another study to confirm that such development would be unacceptable.”

Objections can be made to the landscaping, transport and agriculture proposals for the extension of the Thainstone Business Park. Make your comment online on the Aberdeenshire Council website (or write to Planning & Building Standards, Gordon House, Blackhall Road, Inverurie AB51 3WA quoting APP/2018/0140) The deadline for comments is Thursday, March 29.

The first planning application submitted for the Thainstone Business Park extension up the hill is for the erection and landscaping of a slaughterhouse, or abattoir, for Scotbeef.

‘This will be on a prominent position on the current drove road,” explains Dr Davison.

“The development is funded by a £4 million grant from the government. When Scotbeef and ANM first proposed relocating the abattoir in 2012, they promised that job losses would be minimised. No such promises are being given this time.”

Comments about the Scotbeef abattoir application need to be in by April 12 and can be submitted on the Aberdeenshire Council website (or write to Planning & Building Standards, Gordon House, Blackhall Road, Inverurie AB51 3WA quoting APP/2018/0428).

Dr Davidson says subsequent applications will include relocating Aberdeenshire Council’s Road Maintenance Department onto the hillside, with further concerns about traffic and access.
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