Over one million pounds worth of funding into a re-development of Stonehaven’s Queen Elizabeth caravan site has been given the go ahead by councillors.
Two separate planning applications were submitted to Aberdeenshire Council in June for the re-development, which would see The Caravan Club investing £1.75m to revamp the site for the 2013 tourist season.
The applications, which were taken together at the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee on Tuesday, were unanimously approved by councillors.
The site will see a reduction of caravan pitches from 103 to 84, as well as a tent area, a toilet block, service points, lighting and CCTV columns, a play area, a wardens’ compound and a reception building, which will be a timber and stone clad building with a slated roof.
The application had no objection from consultees, following SEPA’s withdrawl of their objection, and has had lots of support from the local area with regards to tourism.
However speaking at the meeting, Stonehaven resident and Community Councillor Phil Mills-Bishop, who was taking an independent view from Stonehaven and District Community Council, said he objected to the application. Mr Mills-Bishop said he was not opposed to the investment The Caravan Club were making in the park, but was objecting to the application itself, which he believed to be flawed.
Mr Mills-Bishop mentioned that SEPA had originally objected to the application as no risk assessment had been carried out and said that SEPA and the Flood Prevention Unit were not fully satisfied with the application when he spoke to them on Friday (31 August). Mr Mills-Bishop expressed his opinion that the decision should have gone before the Scottish Ministers.
He pointed out that in Aberdeenshire Council’s local plan the local authority state that there should be no building on a designated floodplain and said that the application is against their own local plan and Scottish policy.
Mr Mills-Bishop questioned whether this is actually a re-development or in fact a whole new development, and described it as “knocking down everything else and building a whole new place.” Despite being part of Stonehaven and District Community Council, who approved the plans, Mr Mills-Bishop said he abstained from voting the application through because details on it were not available at the time.
Committee Chair Councillor Carl Nelson said SEPA and the Flood Prevention Unit are both satisfied with the application.
Tony Barnett, Estates Manager of The Caravan Club described the re-development as a “definite asset for Stonehaven”. He said discussions with SEPA are ongoing but they are “extremely confident” that results of an assessment will be positive.
It was stated by Councillor Nelson that Scottish Ministers would only be notified if it was a council development or if SEPA had maintained their objection. Despite the Council still owning the land, it’s leased on a long term basis to Stonehaven Town Partnership who lease it to The Caravan Club, with money being reinvested in the town.