Business park plan for Ellon deferred

The business park is proposed for a site at Balmacassie
The business park is proposed for a site at Balmacassie

Councillors have deferred a decision on a new business park in Ellon.

At a full council meeting last Thursday, they considered a planning application in principle for a commercial/industrial development on land at Balmacassie.

The proposals include office space, industrial, storage and distribution and other uses.

The allocation also requires land to be made available for a gypsy/traveller transit site, which would be subject to a separate planning application.

Formartine Area Committee chair Councillor Rob Merson, said the area committee had debated the application on several occasions and that at its meeting in January it was agreed by a majority that the application should be be granted, subject to conditions.

Local members are aware that industrial land has become a premium in the town and the options of such sites were becoming more limited.

Councillor Merson moved to support the application, seconded by Councillor Gillian Owen.

She said there was no question of the need for more development land in Ellon, but there were challenges not least the issue of water.

Councillor Owen added: “We have spoken at length today about the need for travellers’ sites within Aberdeenshire and we do need to address this, so with this application we have moved forward hugely. However the ‘rolling’ programme appears to be a very costly way of achieving this.

“Ellon has had its fair share of unauthorised camps but now with the prospect of having a site the settled community has some assurance that travellers can be encouraged to move to this site.”

Councillor Martin Ford moved to defer the application – expressing concerns about the proposal to move the travellers site as the development grows, preferring a permanent halting site to be made available for travellers. He was supported by Councillor Jim Gifford.

Councillors voted 25-24 in favour of a deferral.