Hotel plan hearing date set for autumn

A decision by councillors on a controversial planning application to build a new hotel on the west side of Auchenblae has been delayed.

Members of the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee this week agreed that, owing to the high level of public interest in the application, a hearing should be held in the village, followed by a site visit.

Aberdeenshire Council have received 170 letters of representation regarding the application, and villagers have been divided on their opinions, with some rigorously supporting the application and some vehemenently condemning it.

Six people have applied to address the committee, and this number is expected to rise, members heard.

Mearns councillors Bill Howatson and George Carr supported the idea of a hearing.

Cllr Howatson said: “Give the level of public interest a hearing might be the fairest way to do it.”

Area Chair Carl Nelson said: “There have been 170 representations, and six people requesting to speak.

‘‘With the possibility of more people requesting to make their views known, a hearing would be a sensible way forward. It would probably be better to hold it somewhere local and then go on a site visit afterwards, and if we hold it in the evening it gives more peole the chance to attend.”

A date for the hearing was set for Tuesday, September 10, after which a decision will be made on the application at the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee.