Inspection date for St Cyrus travellers’ site set for December

North Esk Park, St Cyrus
North Esk Park, St Cyrus

An inspection of a travellers’ site in St Cyrus will be carried out by the Scottish Government next month.

A reporter will be at North Esk Park on Thursday, December 8, with all parties involved invited to attend.

The site was built near St Cyrus nature reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in September 2013 without planning permission.

The owners applied for retrospective permission.

At a full Aberdeenshire Council meeting in April elected members granted permission for an official halting and touring site.

Councillors voted 41-24 in favour of the site, which was built in September 2013. There was one no vote.

The main reason the planning permission was approved was due the lack of other halting sites for travellers in Kincardine and Mearns.

It was subject conditions, including the site having compensatory water storage, the provision of a flood emergency plan, the removal of a bund, landscaping to improve amenity of neighbours and that there be no development within the SSSI boundary.

The application was subsequently called in by Scottish Ministers as, prior to the meeting, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) concluded the site was on a flood plain.

Rob Huntley has been appointed the case.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The purpose of the site inspection is to inform the reporter of the physical aspects of the site and discussion on the merits of the case will not be allowed.

“Following the site visit the reporter will prepare a report with recommendations to Scottish Ministers, who will make the final decision in these cases.”

Alan Seath, planning consultant for North Esk Park, said: “We are very confident in the case that we have submitted from our consultant engineers SRL regarding the flooding issues and are currently responding to Scottish Ministers in relation to the procedure.

“We await the decision regarding the process in relation to it being called in.”

Liam Kerr, Scottish Conservative MSP for the North East Region, said: “This is a welcome development, and I’m sure that local residents will be pleased to see some evidence of progress being made.

“This has been a long and protracted process already, and those living close to the site face another winter with a very real threat of flooding.

“I hope that this visit means that we will now see swift action from the Scottish Government, with a final decision made early next year.”