Clola traveller site plan refused

The proposal was discussed at the full meeting of Aberdeenshire Council on Thursday, November 21.
The proposal was discussed at the full meeting of Aberdeenshire Council on Thursday, November 21.

Aberdeenshire councillors have refused a plan to create a Traveller Site at Clola near Mintlaw.

The council received an application for full planning permission to create the private site that would have had three pitches and associated works.

The application was retrospective as caravans had moved on to the site and civil engineering works had been carried out.

The plan received 45 objections with concerns raised regarding road safety, drainage and noise pollution. Objectors also mentioned the existing Traveller site at Aikey Brae.

The application previously went before the Buchan Area Committee who had carried out a site visit and deferred the plan for two cycles due to a lack of information regarding drainage issues on the site.

Meanwhile Aberdeenshire Council planners recommended that councillors reject the application as they said that the proposed drainage solution "has not been demonstrated to be adequate".

The drainage system on the site sits within 50 metres of a neighbouring water supply and it has not been made clear whether the system proposed would cause a negative impact on the health of residents in the adjoining property.

The proposal was discussed at the full meeting of Aberdeenshire Council on Thursday, November 21.

Commenting at the meeting Central Buchan councillor Jim Ingram said: "We were able to visit the site as part of the Area Committee. When we went to the site, we found it was a pretty well presented site and it was partially constructed.

"We had one concern related to the ability to service the site adequately with water and dealing with the waste water. We came to the conclusion that because we were advised that the subsoil lacks porosity and because of the lack of porosity, there was a great danger of the waste water spreading just below the immediate surface and encroaching on the neighbour's water supply just 50 metres away.

"For that reason alone we felt that we couldn't gamble with health and safety of the neighbours and we unanimously agreed to reject the application. As I have heard nothing new here today I am of the opinion that we stick by the Area Committee's decision and move to refusal."

Councillor Ingram was backed by fellow Central Buchan councillor, Norman Smith, who commented: "Although I have a lot of sympathy with the travellers at the site on this occasion, I think we've got to stand by our decision. The issues haven't been resolved and I think we need to refuse."

Peterhead South and Cruden councillor Alan Fakley added: "This site has been under discussion for a long time. I don't think it's acceptable to risk somebody's water supply."

However East Garioch councillor Martin Ford requested an amendment for the plan to be deferred to allow more time to seek answers to the drainage issue.

He said: "It's very frustrating to be in this position, the applicant clearly does need to take on board that the council has to know the answer to this question or we have to refuse it, but we don't need to refuse it today.

"We may have a site here which meets a family's genuine needs that is going to cause no difficulty to anybody else and that can be adequately drained with an adequate water supply, we just don't know. I am reluctant to vote for refusal for something that in the end may turn out to be perfectly suitable."

Stonehaven and Lower Deeside councillor Sarah Dickinson asked whether a time limit could be placed on the deferral, and it was proposed that the limit would be two cycles.

Stonehaven and Lower Deeside councillor Dennis Robertson supported councillor Ford's amendment and the matter was taken to a vote.

The motion to refuse the plan won the vote by 37 to 22.