Residents in a Buchan community were delighted as Aberdeenshire Council rejected recommendations to rescind its conservation status.
Planning officers for the local authority had stated that the conservation status should be removed after a series of alterations to buildings over the years had ‘eroded the character’ of the coastal village.
But an emotional appeal to the Buchan Area Committee by Michael Rochon, representing the Port Erroll Heritage Group, convinced councillors to maintain the status after he implored them to protect the ‘jewel in the crown of the spectacular Buchan coastline’.
“The residents of Port Erroll take great pride in their village and wish to protect what we feel is a very special place,” he said.
“As regards the issues in the council report I think it is fair to say it highlights that we have taken our eye off the ball - both the council and residents.
“The council documents do state that the main problem, an accumulation of small changes to properties, could be rectified without too much difficulty.”
A questionnaire was issued to residents by the group, which ‘over 70%’ responded and ‘nearly all were in support of keeping the Conservation Area’ Mr Rochon noted.
After the meeting, he expressed the Heritage Group’s gratitude to the councillors for listening.
“Our efforts in this matter were not only on behalf of the residents of Port Erroll but also the wider community, and generations to come. We are all very pleased at the outcome,” he said.
Community councillor John Ross also appealed to the Buchan councillors to protect Port Erroll’s status.
He said he was ‘absolutely delighted’ the councillors decided unanimously to retain the conservation status.
“It shows that when the community gets together they can achieve their aims.”
A review of the status will be held in five years.
It hasn’t been done in Port Erroll for 30 years, the reasons for which were unknown by council planners at the meeting.
Some alterations to buildings that contradict the conservation guidelines will need to be reversed, with plans formulating soon as to how that will proceed, Mr Ross added.
The village was granted Conservation Area status in 1975.
It was a favourite holiday destination of Dracula author Bram Stoker.