South Road flats plan rejected

The derelict former filling station in Ellon's South Road.
The derelict former filling station in Ellon's South Road.

Plans to demolish the filling station on Ellon’s South Road and replace it with 16 flats has been rejected by councillors at the Formartine Area Committee.

The application was referred to the committee as the plans received a number of objections from members of the public as well as Ellon Community Council.

The 16 objections raised concerns about a number of issues including road safety, insufficient parking, height and overdevelopment.

Following a re-submission of an amended plan, a neighbour notification process was carried out which generated a further 17 objections as the plans did not address previous concerns.

Councillors had decided to undertake a site visit to help give them an idea of how the proposed plans would fit into the available space.

The submitted plans were designed to accommodate 16 two bedroom flats with two vehicular access points, with one at each end of the site.

The single block was set to be two storeys high on each end with a three storey central section.

Since the last area committee meeting, 3D drawings had been submitted to provide a visual aid.

The Planning Service had recommended the plans be given a delegated grant, however the Formartine councillors didn’t agree.

Committee chair and Ellon and District councillor Rob Merson said: “Obviously the report has been considerably amended, however having conducted a site visit some queries have been answered.

“My main concerns still remain, I’m concerned that this will lead to an overdevelopment of the site and it may have a cliff-like effect being so close to the road.

“I don’t feel that it meets the criteria, I thought the Riverside Road flats were a mistake and I don’t want us to repeat that.”

Councillor Gillian Owen added: “I still have a problem with the height, two storeys would be ok but three is too high and alarm bells are ringing.

“This also highlights to me that the concerns that were raised previously have not been taken into account by the developer.

“It must be remembered that this area is currently the entrance to the town and whilst anything would be better than the mess there currently we do have to ensure that what is given permission is something that is appropriate.

“By building a three storey block of flats, which will be imposing and dominant, is totally out of character for the area and will give the impression of too many flats being squashed on to the site and could easily become an eyesore.”

Fellow councillor Richard Thomson said: “It is a challenging site to develop and while there is a temptation that anything is better than nothing we need to resist this urge.

“We need to settle for something suitable, trying to fit 16 flats is just too big for the site.”