Residents’ concern over new road plan

The path of the proposed distributor road is through forestry and close to housing
The path of the proposed distributor road is through forestry and close to housing

Plans have been tabled for a controversial new distributor road in Banchory.

North Banchory Company wants to build the route as part of plans for a major housing development.

But the proposals for the Hill of Banchory area face opposition from local residents, who fear the impact on valued wildlife habitat and woodland.

The company has applied to Aberdeenshire Council for approval to construct the distributor road and roundabout from Hill of Banchory to Raemoir Road. The planned route would take it through forestry near Larch Tree Crescent and Alder Tree Road.

In the 2017 local development plan (LDP), the proposed link ran to the north of Bancon Homes’ Lochside of Leys development. The proposed re-routing takes the road to the south and nearer housing – a change which is concerning residents in the area.

North Banchory Company sought the views of local people on the new route in March, in the run-up to lodging the planning application.

It maintains the distributor road can deliver an improved solution in terms of traffic conveyance, ecological and environmental impact.

Objections to the new link have already been lodged with the council and HoB Road Action Group, which was formed following the March consultation, is calling for the woodland to be protected and for the original route in the LDP to be maintained.

The group says: “The new proposed route to the south would effectively run parallel to the existing major distributor road at Hill of Banchory West for a considerable distance, sandwiching Larch Tree and Alder Tree between two major roads.

“This pinch point could compromise the safety of pedestrians to the Hill of Banchory hub and its amenities including the school, nursery and leisure facilities.”

It is also concerned about the short distance there would be between some houses and the proposed road, and the affect on woodland.

The group adds: “If this woodland is allowed to be destroyed, we will lose abundant wildlife, some of which has protected status.

“This woodland is used daily by Banchory residents for a variety of reasons. If it is destroyed, the amenity of the residents will be lost.”

In a supporting planning statement, the applicant says the proposed route is preferable due to lower ecological impact, improved efficiency of traffic movement, lower visual impact, lower overall environmental impact and consistency with woodland management plans.

It adds that the original route identified in the masterplan is twice as long, and therefore will have a much greater impact on the environment.

The statement continues: “It is accepted that the proposed route differs significantly from the one considered as part of the masterplan, but it is submitted that it reverts back to a route considered previously as acceptable, and included within an earlier local plan, as well as various other planning permissions and agreements.

“Any impact of the proposed road on existing properties, and on the ecology of the area can be appropriately mitigated through quality landscaping, delivered in advance of the construction of the road.

“The proposed route will bring benefits in terms of traffic conveyance, journey times and potential access to public transport for as many households as possible.”

Meanwhile, the application was opposed at Monday night’s meeting of Banchory Community Council.

Chair Mary Lennox claimed the developer was seeking to amend planning conditions granted after full consideration by planners and councillors without justifying it.