No date set for report after St Cyrus travellers’ site inspection

Scottish Government reporter Rob Huntley investigated North Esk Park
Scottish Government reporter Rob Huntley investigated North Esk Park

An inspection of a travellers’ site in St Cyrus has been carried out but there is no date set for when the report will be presented to Scottish Ministers.

Reporter Rob Huntley visited North Esk Park last Thursday after a retrospective planning application for the site, passed by Aberdeenshire councillors in April, was called into parliament because of concerns the site is at a risk of flooding.

Residents were able to attend while Mr Huntley carried out the inspection and the park - built in 2013 - was open to the public.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The purpose of the site inspection was to inform the independent reporter of the physical aspects of the site.

“The reporter will now prepare a report with recommendations to Scottish Ministers, who will make the final decision in these cases.”

The spokesman added that it is not confirmed when the report will go before Ministers.

North Esk Park was built near St Cyrus nature reserve, and also close to a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), in September 2013 without planning permission.

The owners applied for retrospective permission.

At a full Aberdeenshire Council meeting in April, elected members granted permission for an official halting and touring site.

The application was subsequently called in by Scottish Ministers as, prior to the meeting, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) concluded the site was on a flood plain.

Alan Seath, planning consultant for North Esk Park, said: “We are waiting for a hopefully positive response in relation to the call-in procedure.

“We have done all we can and its now in the Scottish Ministers’ hands.”

Liam Kerr, Scottish Conservative MSP for the North East Region, said: “I think that the reporter will now have a greater understanding of the concerns expressed by residents about this development.

“This process has dragged on for far too long already, and I hope that we will not have to wait for too much longer for a final decision.

“My concern is that if allowed, this type of unauthorised development could set an unwanted precedent for similar sites in Aberdeenshire and indeed elsewhere in the country.”