Controversial flats appeal dismissed

Ellon & District councillor Rob Merson stands next to the former petrol filling station
Ellon & District councillor Rob Merson stands next to the former petrol filling station

A controversial planning application for a block of flats on the site of a former petrol filling station in Ellon has been quashed at appeal by the Department for Planning & Environmental Appeals (DPEA).

The proposal, which was recommended for approval by planners, has twice been unanimously refused by the Formartine Area Committee.

The applicants, Regency Oils Ltd of Buckie, lodged an appeal against the decision with the Scottish Reporter - but has again been rebuffed.

Commenting in the Appeal Decision Notice the Reporter disagreed with the contention that the proposed development would “reflect the existing settlement pattern in [that] part of Ellon” and took the view that the proposed building would look “particularly out of place”.

The Reporter added: “Furthermore, I believe the nature of the of the proposed development would erode the character and amenity of the surrounding area through its overly dominant appearance,” and that it would “give the impression that the site would be over-developed in relation to its context”.  

Chair of the Formartine Area Committee, Ellon & District councillor Rob Merson, who has been a vocal opponent of the proposal since it was first brought before the committee, has welcomed the decision as “a victory for common sense”.

Cllr Merson, who submitted a letter of objection to the appeal, said: “I am delighted that the Reporter has supported my own view that the proposal was an overdevelopment of the site, and would have created an overbearing impact which was completely out of context in that streetscape.

“The contention has been expressed that the applicant has purposefully allowed this site to fall into dereliction in an attempt to encourage the local community to accept whatever application is put before them.

“While I am sure that the community would welcome a more appropriate and sympathetic development of that site.

“In the interim, however, I would call on Regency Oils to demonstrate corporate responsibility and take action to tidy up the site, which is on a main route to the new academy campus, failing which, I will be writing to the Director of Infrastructure Services requesting that enforcement action is taken to bring the site up to an acceptable standard.”