Council planners show support for £150m mixed use development in Aberdeenshire

BlackdogCouncil planners in Aberdeenshire have backed a £150 million housing and retail development at Blackdog despite concerns it will hit traders in surrounding north-east towns.

Under plans lodged with the local authority a year ago, developers Ashfield Land and local housebuilder Kirkwood Homes want to create a new town centre with 600 new homes along with a town centre which would include a sixscreen cinema, hotel, shops and a regional food hall.

It is thought the development would bring about 2,100 people to the area and create around 1,500 jobs.

Earlier this year, an independent retail analysis by Hargest Planning Ltd suggested such a major development could hurt the local economy – with Aberdeen, Ellon and Inverurie hardest hit.

But Aberdeenshire Council’s planning department has said they do not believe the proposals for Blackdog will “adversely impact” trade across the rest of the north-east.

Officers are now urging the proposals are given planning permission in principle.

In a report to the council’s Formartine area committee, which will consider the scheme on Tuesday, director of infrastructure services, Stephen Archer, said: “An assessment of the retail proposed has taken place and it is considered that it will not adversely impact any other Aberdeenshire town or Aberdeen City.

“Information relating to the cinema and potential impact has been submitted and it is accepted that the leisure use in terms of impact on other cinema locations is low.”

However, the report acknowledges the food hall would “likely result” in impacts on Ellon town centre and that the knock-on effect would be “relatively high” for Fraserburgh and Peterhead – and that it will be “necessary” to add a condition limiting the amount of convenience retail on offer there.

Mr Archer concluded the town centre application is a “high quality viable, deliverable and sustainable development” and is a “key component of the Energetica (Corridor) vision”.

His team also said the impact of the developer’s proposed 850-seater picture house would have on Aberdeen’s four cinemas would be “low.”

The council has recommended the committee backs the plans on delegated grants, despite both applications being contrary to the Aberdeenshire local development plan.

The proposals will be discussed at the Formartine area committee at Ellon’s Kirk Centre on Tuesday.

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