Inquiry into development of Laurencekirk in future

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AN inquiry into Aberdeenshire Council’s Local Plan, particularly as it relates to Laurencekirk, was held in the St Laurence Hall, Laurencekirk last wednesday.

The inquiry reporter was Mr Stewart Brain and represented were Kirkwood Homes, Scotia Homes, Rydens, Aberdeenshire Council, Transport Scotland and Mearns Community Council.

Community Council chairman David Nelson said the reporter first wanted answers to 13 specific questions relating to the site of the new academy and how it could cope with expansion of Laurencekirk, particularly on site M1 to the north, where Kirkwood Homes want to build 800 homes.

“I said we want to ensure that there is sufficient land for expansion and that the present school playing fields must not be developed and should be kept in reserve.

“At present the playing fields are lumped in with the school site and there is no doubt that Aberdeenshire Council will be looking for some revenue back. We are worried about the tightness of the new school site and its ability to cater for 840 pupils.

“The meeting went on to discuss the need for infrastructure to support major development in Laurencekirk, particularly a link road to the west side.

“Grade separation is desireable both south and north and Transport Scotland say that is required. The reporter was left in no doubt about the need at the south entrance in particular.

“Grade-separation to the north would be part and parcel of development there and Kirkwood have said they would fund the lion’s share.

“I stressed a flyover at the south end should be the responsibility of the Scottish Government as it is a major arterial route.

“Scotia are to develop at the south end of the town and they have the rights to the land where a junction would go.

“They indicated they would be prepared to release the land and contribute towards it.”

Mr Nelson revealled that Kirkwood Homes appear to have withdrawn from a proposal to build 220 houses at the bottom of Blackiemuir Avenue, looking instead to focus on the north of the town.

“We want growth in Laurencekirk, but we must have the infrastructure to go with it. There was a lot of positive things to come out of the inquiry meeting and a lot of agreement between the parties as to what needs to be done.”