Councillors defer decision on Ellon travellers site

COUNCILLORS have deferred a decision on the proposed site for travellers at Tillygreig, near Udny.

Planning officials had recommended that councillors reject the planning application, which would have seen a site developed for three caravans on agricultural land.

However, at a meeting of the Formartine Area Committee in Cumminestown on Tuesday councillors voted 5-4 to defer a final decision on approval pending further reports from planning officials.

Planners had objected to the application on the grounds that the site could lead to sporadic development, was too far from public transport and could be detrimental to the surrounding countryside’s character.

They also expressed a view that such developments should originate as a result of being identified through the local development plan.

Architect Forbes Marr, who addressed the committee as the applicant’s agent, said that his clients had a human right to their lifestyle and that the local authority had a ‘duty of care’ to accommodate this.

Describing planners’ objections as “unsound, unreasonable and unjustifiable”, he observed that Scottish Government policy was that such developments should come through individual applications, rather than the Local Plan.

He also raised apparent inconsistencies between the planning policies of local authorities on travelling sites, highlighting a case near Elgin which had apparently been rejected because it was too close to the nearest town rather than too far away.

Local resident Steven Milne also addressed the committee, expressing concerns for the character of the area, the privacy of his family home, and the inadequacy of the existing access for the caravans and lorries which would accompany the anticipated business use on the site.

Cllr Allan Hendry moved to reject the application and was seconded by Cllr Jim Gifford.

The amendment to defer was moved successfully by Cllr Anne Robertson and seconded by Cllr Rob Merson.