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Police Scotland flats plan refused

By David Porter

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Plans to build flats on a wooded area at the grounds of Inverurie police station have been refused by Aberdeenshire Council.

Police Scotland, through and an agent, sought permission in September to build nine two-bedroom flats in a three-storey block on land located next to the police station in Blackhall Road.

Documents submitted with the application showed that to make way for the development a total of 61 trees would have to be chopped down.

The proposal forms part of the force's wider programme to dispose of land and unused premises across the country as the result of a review, which has seen several properties, such as the former station at Kemnay take on new owners.

Last December, Dundee-based agents Graham+Sibbald submitted a request to Aberdeenshire Council to get formal feedback on the potential development of the site where two potential options were presented to the council: a nine-flat residential scheme or a commercial drive-thru development.

In February, the council recommended the former which cautions after a failed attempt to create a drive-thru directly opposite the site within the grounds of the Morrison's store.

That application sought the creation of a small McDonald's restaurant and was firmly rejected over the loss of woodland on the site and concerns over site layout, a situation which was conversely accepted by Aberdeenshire Council when plans for an almost identical layout were approved within the car park of Asda in Fraserburgh.

The site in question include a variety of mature trees which are registered on the ancient woodland inventory as "long-established".

Accordingly in the the refusal notice which has been issued by planners, it was stated: "The applicant has not satisfactorily demonstrated a public, economic or social benefit that outweighs the loss of the area designated as ancient woodland and has not demonstrated that there is no reasonable alternative site for the development.

It also noted: "The indicative siting of the proposed flatted development and associated works are unacceptable and the Planning Service has no confidence based on the information available that the site can accommodate this level of development resulting in concerns with the potential visual impact of the building and impact on the character of the area."

As the application did not go before members of the area committee, the only appeal route open for the plans are to go before members of the Local Review Board which is made up of councillors from across Aberdeenshire.

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