Plans to create a much-needed new cemetery on the outskirts of Ellon will be debated next week.
Aberdeenshire Council has submitted the first of a three-phase development near Auchterellon Farm on the A948 Ellon to Auchnagatt road.
The local authority’s Formartine Area Committee will discuss the proposals on Tuesday with recommendations to approve the departure from the Local Development Plan.
Councillors will hear that the current cemetery on Ellon’s Castle Road is rapidly approaching full capacity, with no scope to extend.
In a report to committee, Infrastructure Services director Stephen Archer states: “A preferred site within the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan 2017 is currently part of ongoing negotiations with other parties and is therefore not an option at present.
“As it could still take some-time to decide on the outcome of this R1 site, an alternative site is sought for a new cemetery to meet the needs of the community and town.”
The site now proposed would provide 285 casket lairs and 1,183 lairs in the first phase alongside a car park and memorial garden.
Mr Archer says that there is also potential for a community garden to be situated within the site.
Ythan Community Council has objected to the proposed site, citing difficulties with access for those using public transport and the potential impact on any future rail link with Ellon Park and Ride.
In terms of access to the proposed cemetery, Mr Archer advises that the site is “not significantly different” in terms of accessibility by non-motorised transport than the previously preferred location, is close to bus routes, and that it is likely to be more peaceful than a site adjacent to a business area.
He says that at this stage the future of delivering a railway, in particular one that includes a connection to the existing Park and Ride site in Ellon, is “uncertain”.
Mr Archer reports: “In any case, the indicative route does not go through the application site and therefore will not impact on the delivery of any potential future railway line.”