Development corridor extension questioned

A MOVE last week by the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee to recommend the extension of the structural development corridor to include the former Edzell Base has led to questions being asked by the chair of the Laurencekirk Villages in Control Committee.

Stressing that he was speaking for himself and not for the whole VIC committee who have not had a meeting, Mike Robson said he took issue not so much with the decision, but with the lack of public consultation.

“I imagine this extension will have to go to full council and I do not know how much backing it will get as it is a fairly radical move.

“I would have liked to have seen the arguments for and against presented to the public. I do not know what the basis for this change is and what arguments were presented.”

Mr Robson feels that a large-scale development of housing and industry at Edzell Base will bring pressure to improve the junction of the Lang Stracht with the A90, but his group’s over-riding wish is for grade-separation at Laurencekirk.

“I feel that in the present economic climate too many planning applications for houses are going forward and the effect may be to slow down the whole area’s development by giving people too much choice.

“I do however welcome the business, commercial and industrial proposals for the base as they will bring employment to the area. One of VIC’s concerns is that this area simply becomes a dormitory community.

“At the moment the development corridor stops at Laurencekirk. It has had a negative effect in that all development is zoned within the corridor and the rest of Aberdeenshire has been off-limits.

“My fear is that an extension might hinder development in Laurencekirk, but I am not aware of the debate.”

The VIC chair says that a flyover at Laurencekirk’s south junction is not dependent on development.

“This is regarded as a pre-exisiting problem and Transport Scotland have accepted responsibility for it, although if a development was to cause additional traffic flow, the development would be asked to contribute.

“At the north end of Laurencekirk, developers have accepted that they will fund a flyover once they build the houses which are projected.”

VIC had a meeting with Nigel Don MSP last week to get an update on his efforts to bring about grade-separation at the south junction.

“NESTRANS recently came up with new evidence in support of a flyover and we must keep the pressure on.”

Mr Robson says that the issue of the extension of the development corridor should be up for public debate. “I want this issue raised above the parapet. The housing market is in limbo at the moment and we do not want too many developments coming through at once.”

After some discussion, members of the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee voted to recommend that the former Edzell Base be included in the corridor.