Developers behind the transformation of the Ury Estate have announced measures to address issues about its £80 million golf development.
The golf course designers, working with independent environmental experts, have changed the orientation of the eight hole to avoid mature trees and riverside habitats. The hole will now play west to east away from the ancient woodland on the banks of the River Cowie.
Following the planning application for the golf course and enabling housing development, FM Group has undertaken an independent study into the impact on woodland and produced a management plan to protect the woods and wildlife in the area during and after construction.
Although areas of ancient woodland will be removed, the topsoil from this will be spread over adjacent agricultural land which will subsequently be managed as ancient woodland.
A total of 1,000 new trees have already been planted on the estate with around 2,000 more proposed around the golf course and the enabling housing development.
Jonathon Milne, director of FM Group, said: “We are very sensitive to the natural environment. Ury is fortunate to contain a huge amount of biodiversity and we want to protect that.
“In some areas, the sycamores are taking over and threatening this biodiversity and where this is happening, we will be felling those species.
“Our team of specialists has been working incredibly hard to listen to the consultees and fully understand the issues raised.
“We are particularly grateful to Jack Nicklaus and his team for redesigning the eighth hole so that we will have minimal impact on the woodland around this part of the course.”
FM Group has also provided responses and plans which have satisfied many of the consultees. The HSE, BP and Shell have lifted their objections in relation to pipelines subject to certain conditions being met. Historic Environment Scotland, Historic Scotland and Transport Scotland are no longer objecting to the planning application and SEPA has lifted one of its objections.
Reports are still being compiled to demonstrate how the development will mitigate or resolve issues around flood prevention and waste management.
Mr Milne added: “We will continue to demonstrate our commitment to addressing all the issues to ensure a positive planning decision so that we can get on and deliver this amazing opportunity for Stonehaven and the North-east of Scotland.”
An independent socio-economic impact report, by EKOS, commissioned for the planning application, revealed that the proposed championship golf course and associated housing development will generate £55.5 million into the Aberdeenshire economy over a 15 year period and create 200 new jobs.