Plans discussed

Community Councillors and residents were given the chance to question the Caravan Club about their plans for the Queen Elizabeth Caravan Park in Stonehaven on Tuesday as the estates manager of the Caravan Club, Tony Barnett, attended the Stonehaven and District Community Council monthly meeting.

The public gallery was busy at the meeting with a large number of Cowie residents turning up to get their questions answered about the plans and to see what the Caravan Club is looking to do with the park which is situated so close to many of their front doors.

Mr Barnett opened the discussion by highlighting how much potential the caravan park has due to it’s location, he explained the ways the town will benefit once the site realises it’s full potential and explained that if run to full capacity every night it would inject £3.5 million into the local economy.

He then explained how the site would be developed, with the two toilet blocks removed and made into one central block, a new reception built and a childrens play park. he explained that the play park was an addition following public consultation into the plans.

Residents of Cowie questioned Mr Barnett about the bins, which are cited in the plans as being at the entrance to the site. Many were unhappy about this as one member of the public said: “I don’t understand why I should look out my window at a pile of bins.” Mr Barnett said he understood their concerns however he said the bins would be behind a fence and they could not be moved as in terms of health and safety there was no other place for them to be go.

He also explained about the all weather pitches, camping area and the eight static pitches on the site.

Since the Caravan Club running the park was discussed last year, the position of the static caravan owners has been an issue. After much debate, The Caravan Club agreed to provide eight static pitches on site.

Mr Barnett explained that there are strict limitations on the sizes of statics which can be allowed on the site. He also said that if the static pitches are not taken on by static owners they will be used for touring vans.

Members of the public who attended the meeting reacted with shock when Mr Barnett said that if all goes well they believe the park could operate 11 months a year, only closing in February. One member of the public said: “I think the residents of Cowie have just been sold down the river. It has just been decided above our heads.” However Mr Barnett assured them this was not the case and that the opening times of the site was a planning issue and restrictions can be imposed.

Cowie residents were reassured that because of the way the Caravan Club runs it’s sites they would no longer experience the issues which are currently a problem on the site and that the Caravan Club will run the site efficiently and well. One member of the public expressed delight at this saying he “cannot wait.”

If the planning application, which is due on Aberdeenshire Council’s website in the coming weeks, was to be granted Mr Barnett explained that they would hope to have the sit up and running by May 2013.